Iran: Smuggling Increase by More Than Half but IRGC Is Still Biggest Culprit

NCRI Staff

NCRI - Items smuggled into Iran has increased by more than half, compared with the same five-month period in 2016, according to the commander of the Iran regime’s Police Crime Unit.

Commander Mohammad Reza Moghimi revealed that there has been a 57% increase in intercepted shipments worth over 5 billion rials (roughly $150,000) and a 50% increase in shipments worth between 1 billion and 5 billion rials.

He said: “Computer equipment, cosmetics, and hygiene products were at the top of the list of contraband goods smuggled into Iran.”

What is of more concern to the Regime is contraband oil products, which have shown a 53% rise, and smuggled inflammable and explosive products, which have increased by 27%.

Moghimi assessed that fighting against smuggled contraband and currency was a priority for the police force, particularly targeting organised smugglers, which is why they’re established a special division of the Police Crime Unit dedicated entirely to it.

He said: “The special centre’s main duty is monitoring and tracking major smugglers, stopping the flow of contraband products into Iran, and fighting the storing and circulating of illegal goods in the country.”

However, if the Iranian Regime truly wanted to stop organised smuggling they would do best to look inside their own ranks. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are the biggest smugglers in the country and the police and the politicians are looking the other way.

The IRGC is also uniquely poised to evade smuggling checks in the unlikely event that the Regime even looked over their contraband, because they control 45% of Iranian docks (90) and they are only accountable to the Supreme Leader.

The fact that a number of Hassan Rouhani’s government was also benefiting from the smuggling was addressed by a senior member of the Regime’s Parliament back in July.

Hassan Norouzi, the representative for the parliament’s Judiciary Committee, said: “A number of governmental institutions are directly or indirectly involved in smuggling.”

Although he mentioned no names in his interview with Fars News Agency (FNA), a website close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Norouzi noted that several ministers and the daughter of one minister were actively involved in the smuggling business.

It is believed that Norouzi was referring the daughter of Rouhani’s education minister, Fakhruddin Ahmadi Danesh-Ashtiani. She was accused of smuggling Italian contraband clothing into Iran but was acquitted.

Following a cabinet reshuffle, Danesh-Ashtiani was dismissed and replaced by Mohammad Bat’haei.

The news of the IRGC’s involvement in smuggling is nothing new. In 2011, then-President Mahmud Ahmadinejad accused the IRGC of using its military ports to smuggle cigarettes into Iran.

He said: “The value [of cigarettes smuggled into Iran] makes any first-class international smuggler greedy, let alone our very own Smuggler Brothers.”