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Iran’s Regime Is a Mafia of Smugglers

Smuggling is one of the main income resources for the Iranian regime’s officials and the IRGC
Smuggling is one of the main income resources for the Iranian regime’s officials and the IRGC

News about smuggling cases in Iran is published in the Iranian regime’s media on a frequent basis. The latest case that has come to light is the smuggling of 171 billion rials worth of spare parts, household appliances, and tobacco, as revealed by Omid Qalibaf, the spokesperson of the regime’s Ministry of Industry, Mining, and Trade.

Smuggling is one of the most profitable methods for the ‘mafia’ controlled by the regime. According to Qalibaf, the smuggling figure of 171 billion rials only included a specific number of goods and does not highlight the full extent of the country’s black market. Automobile spare parts, household appliances, tobacco, cosmetics, and clothing constitute ‘more than 80%’ of the goods smuggled into Iran by the regime’s ‘mafia’.

Ali Moeidi Khorramabadi, the chief of the headquarters for combating goods and currency smuggling, previously stated that ‘$12.5 billion’ of such goods are sold in the country every year.

In recent decades, the regime’s officials have claimed that they would fight against goods smuggling, but the number of goods smuggled into the country has never been significantly reduced, and there has always been a suspicion that gangs and main branches involved in the smuggling of the goods are related to many of the senior regime officials.

In January 2019, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of the regime, ironically called the members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ‘the smuggling brotherhood’.

The smuggling of goods has become an integral part of the regime’s foreign trade activities. In the winter of 2021, the Research Center of the regime’s parliament reported 42 frauds in import, export, transit, and other commercial procedures, which has increased the price of these goods in the country significantly and left the Iranian people faced with many shortages and difficulties.

The center said that it has introduced and identified 14 procedures for the illegal entry of goods, 8 procedures for the illegal exit of goods, 4 illegal procedures in the transit route, 5 illegal procedures in other commercial routes, 7 illegal procedures for the exit of currency and 4 illegal procedures from unofficial sources.

Highlighting the catastrophic situation of smuggling in the country, the members of the Iran Textile and Apparel Production and Export Union wrote a letter to the head of the regime’s anti-trafficking headquarters, parts of which were posted on the regime’s official website for the state Radio and TV (IRIB).

This letter stated, “Despite the efforts made to fight against clothing and textile smuggling since 2017, due to the lack of permanency in the implementation of the initial phase of the plan to combat clothing smuggling at the supply level, which included certain foreign clothing brands, we are witnessing the rapid return of smuggling to the supply level and the influx of stock clothing in the market. In such a way, according to field observations, in the last months of 2021 and the New year’s market, the volume of smuggled clothes in the market has greatly increased.”

Since the structure of the regime, both in the legislative and executive fields is not suited to combat smuggling, the circulars, orders, and plans that are approved and conveyed in this regard are only put in place to counteract public opinion.

In 2017, the Iranian parliament’s research and investigation board prepared a report on the process of combating such goods and currencies smuggling, which showed that only one percent of the cases reviewed in the regime’s courts reached a verdict and the rest were declared closed without any declaration. This is mainly because the IRGC and many other regimes’ institutions behind this business will never allow their corruption to be revealed.