The Iranian Regime have made several contradictory statements on the smuggling of cars, with state media reported the number as 6,000 per year, the deputy head of Automobile Importers Association claiming the number to be over 19,000 every year, and the head of the Regime’s Trade Promotion Organization quoting a figure of 6,400 in the last year.
Who’s to blame?
As with most problems in Iran, it is those in charge who are at fault. In April, several of the state-run newspapers have cited sources accusing the Regime officials of illegally importing the cars and bribery.
The head of the Industry Committee in the Iranian Parliament told Shargh newspaper, on April 24, that the government had been allowing the illegal import of 6,000 cars while the order registration was blocked.
He said: “Some [officials] have taken advantage of government facilities to illegally import cars. This should be investigated in the parliament as an emergency issue. The government has offended in this regard and should be held accountable.”
This followed on from earlier corruption coverage by Iran newspaper on April 18.
Their report read: “While the website that registered car import orders was down, some [officials] offered car importers between 5 and 20 million tomans, telling them that they had access to the website.”
Whilst the State Broadcasting news agency quoted Mehdi Dadfar, head of Automobile Importers Association, on March 13, as saying that the bidders must have had links to the Ministry of Industry as “19,000 vehicles were illegally imported during a six month period, with 190 billion toman paid as ‘rentiering cost’ in the process”.
This number correlates with the figure given by Tabnak news site on April 18, in an article titled “Smuggling mafia is running the country’s customs administration”. The piece asked how the vehicles were being imported into Iran following comments from the head of the parliamentary group tasked with fighting economic corruption.
The site referred back to a smuggling scandal from last year, where 13 luxury cars, including brands like Porsche, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, were found to have been smuggled through official entry points into Iran, with many more suspected, but never caught.
The reason that it is proving so hard for Iran to catch these smugglers, when everyone knows that it is happening, is that the smuggling ring is likely made up of high-ranking Iranian officials.
Regime MP Amir Khojasteh said: “They are the same people who are running the country’s smuggling mafia with strong teamwork; a mafia group so well-organized that anyone else entering this business will be faced with real difficulties.”
This is one of the things that is wrecking the Iranian economy, along with intense corruption and mismanagement at all levels of the Regime, but the mullahs are not going to punish any of their own for it.