Iran Revolutionary Guards: Corrupt Smugglers

Iran Focus 

London, 16 May - The Iranian Regime’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has a long history of corruption, whether it's plundering the public purse or taking control of government jobs, but the Iranian election has shed more light on the scope of their corruption.

One of the biggest areas of corruption for the IRGC is its smuggling ring, which runs completely unchecked through the 90 Iranian ports (roughly 45% of Iranian ports) under their control. The IRGC illegally smuggles goods into the country, do not pay customs tax or duty, and as such are able to undercut legitimate import/export businesses, wrecking the economy.

On May 5, the state-affiliated Tasnim news agency reported: “The numbers of $15 to $20 billion of smuggled goods is not a low figure for our country; it is natural that the entrance of goods from illegal channels can deliver irrecoverable damages. From an economic point of view the uncontrolled entrance of smuggled goods will lead to the end of the country’s domestic production, and this could have meant jobs for 2 million people.”

Given that many of Iran’s factories are shut down or have gone bankrupt, the only place for ordinary Iranians to get most of these goods is through the IRGC, who make roughly $12 billion a year from smuggling, in addition to the money given to them as part of the Iranian military budget.

The IRGC activities go unchecked on the orders of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who also benefits from the smuggling ring.

Ahmad Salek, a member of Khamenei’s faction, said: “In the past year no measures were taken to stop goods being smuggled into the country. $25 billion in goods were smuggled into the country. Of course, the Economy Minister said we have confronted the smuggling phenomenon and it has reached $15 billion through customs. However, the truth is that today’s $25 billion has reached $35 billion.”

Even taking into account the minimum estimates, this means that 40% of Iranian imports are smuggled into the country but even Regime officials have begun to question this.

Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, a senior judiciary official, said: “We have heard that 4,000 trucks and containers are entering the country through the Bandar Abbas port, while only 1,500 of these containers are controlled and inspected.”

While former regime commerce minister Yahiya Al Es’hagh, asked: “Why are the borders impenetrable for ISIS but open to thousands of flat-bed trucks bringing in smuggled goods?”

This state-approved smuggling is destroying an already crumbling economy, allowing the rich to prosper and the poor to starve.


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