Who’s behind Iran’s car smuggling business?

75,000 foreign luxury cars are imported for Iranian regime’s state officials every year. Released with paying the least customs duties, many of the cars are illegally imported and even smuggled into the country.

Meanwhile, the official figures in this regard are contradictory.

While state media had previously reported on 6,000 cars illegally imported or smuggled into the country, deputy head of Automobile Importers Association announced in April that the number of illegally imported cars was more than 15,000. (State-run ISNA news agency, April 23, 2018)

On the other hand, head of regime’s Trade Promotion Organization had previously declared that 6,400 vehicles were imported last year during the time when no import order registration was allowed.

In an article titled “the government as top offender in illegal import of 6,000 cars”, state-run Shargh newspaper on April 24, 2018, quotes head of parliament’s Industry Committee as acknowledging that the cars were imported while order registration was blocked, accusing the Rouhani’s government of rentiering. “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”, he says.

Earlier, state-run Iran newspaper had revealed more details of the corruption on April 18, writing “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.”

“The bidders had links to the Ministry of Industry,” says Mehdi Dadfar, head of Automobile Importers Association, adding “around 19,000 vehicles were illegally imported during a six month period, with 190 billion toman paid as ‘rentiering cost’ in the process.” (Regime’s State Broadcasting news agency, March 13, 2018)

State-run Tabnak website meanwhile puts the number of smuggled cars at 19,000. In an article titled “smuggling mafia is running the country’s customs administration” on April 18, 2018, the websites writes “following the comments made by head of the parliamentary group tasked with fighting against economic corruption, the question now is how the vehicles have been imported into the country?”

The website then points to last year’s controversial issue of smuggling 13 luxury cars through the country’s official entry points, and acknowledges that many more cars have been illegally imported as well.

The imported luxury cars include such brands like Porsche, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, all smuggled through the country’s free trade zones and official customs checkpoints from 2016 up until October 2017.

Obviously, the importers and users of the smuggled luxury cars are regime’s high-ranking officials and their affiliates, and as regime’s MP Amir Khojasteh puts it, “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.”(State-run ISNA news agency, April 23, 2018)

The institutionalized corruption and smuggling within the regime is so extensive that Rouhani’s economic advisor Masoud Nili has to acknowledge that “the situation is so bad that Iran’s economy is now crippled with a globally unmatched phenomenon named (state-run) smuggling business” (State-run ISNA news agency, April 7, 2018)

Illegally importing 19,000 vehicles into the country is really a unique phenomenon, the same way that smuggling business under the mullahs’ regime is.

Source » ncr-iran

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