EghtesadOnline: Since March 21, the Organization for Collection and Sales of State-Owned Properties of Iran has destroyed 500 billion rials ($4.4 million) worth of expired or smuggled goods, Jamshid Qosourian, the head of the organization, said on Friday.
“As we speak, the destruction program of the organization is carried out on a monthly basis in provinces where the goods have been seized,” he was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
There are 23,000-25,000 billion rials [$202.64-220.26 million] worth of smuggled commodities in the warehouses of the Organization for Collection and Sales of State-Owned Properties of Iran, he added.
The organization recently reported that it sold 4,610 billion rials ($40.61 million) worth of abandoned, smuggled and seized properties as well as narcotics (to pharmaceutical companies) in the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22), according to Financial Tribune.
According to Hossein Mir-Moeini, the deputy head of the organization, the value of sales shows a 98.3% increase compared with the corresponding period of last year.
“A total of 9,973 billion rials ($87.86 million) worth of goods were returned to the owners,” he said.
The Economic Security Police Department of the Islamic Republic of Iran Police Force began its official anti-smuggling operations at nine sea border crossings, one air border and three land border crossings of the country on Sept. 7.
The sea border crossings include Genaveh, Bushehr, Shahid Rajaee Port, Qeshm, Deylam and Khorramshahr. The land border crossings include Bazargan, Bashmaq and Parviz Khan.
Imam Khomeini International Airport is the only air checkpoint where the newly-formed police department will make its presence felt to curb smuggling in cooperation with the Interior Ministry, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Ports and Maritime Organization and Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, IRNA reported.
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said one of the main obstacles in the way of boosting domestic production is smuggling, calling on police forces to step up efforts to counter the movement of contraband goods across the borders.
“Promotion of security is a prerequisite to economic activity and prosperity, and one of the main roadblocks in the way of bolstering production is smuggling,” the Leader said in a meeting with police commanders in Tehran in August.
Ayatollah Khamenei also said the police must address another aspect of smuggling that has recently emerged, which is the fact that the scourge has become a “two-way” process as some goods needed by the people, including agricultural products, are being smuggled out of the country and causing serious problems for ordinary people.
The sharp depreciation of the rial currency over the past year has prompted smugglers to transport consumer goods, farm products and even livestock in large quantities to neighboring countries where they are sold at much higher prices.
Close to 74.3 trillion rials ($654 million) worth of smuggled goods were confiscated in Iran during the last Iranian year (March 2018-19), which shows a 73.1% upsurge in the value of seizures compared with the year before, according to data provided by the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchanges, the Organization for Collection and Sales of State-Owned Properties of Iran and Tazirat Organization (a judiciary-affiliated oversight body dealing with trading offences).
Topping the list of confiscations were household appliances worth $67.29 (rising 127.4% compared to the year before), automotives worth $52.36 million (up 323%) and food products worth $27 million (down 10.7%).
Other contraband goods confiscated during the period were cosmetics and toiletries ($24.68 million), oil products ($18.27 million), livestock and poultry ($17.02 million), auto spare parts ($16.45 million), mobile phones ($15.68 million), satellite equipment ($13.05 million), apparel ($13.04 million), computer equipment ($12.9 million), rice ($12.04 million), textile ($12.18 million), armament and ammunition ($11.15 million) and cigarettes ($10.51 million).
Of the aforementioned confiscated items, oil products (especially fuel), livestock and poultry were major goods smuggled out and the rest into the country.
Data on the value of smuggling, as part of Iran's underground economy, are scant. Latest available data show the total value of smuggled goods during the three Iranian fiscal years March 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 stood at $25 billion, $19.8 billion and $15 billion respectively.
In the fiscal March 2016-17, the number reportedly shrank to $12-13 billion, according to the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange. There is no available data past the fiscal 2015-16.