Press TV – A new report citing data from the Iranian government shows that almost a fifth of the daily production of gasoline in the country falls into the hands of smugglers who ship the fuel to the neighboring countries.
A Tuesday report published in the semi-official Fars news agency cited data from Iran’s Plan and Budget Organization showing that fuel smuggling from the country had topped an average of 22 million liters a day over the last Iranian calendar year ending in March 2019.
The report said a close study of the amount of fuel smuggled between March and August 2018 in only one Iranian border province had shown a five-fold increase compared to the similar period in 2017.
The report also cited findings of another analysis showing that smugglers were making $0.4 to $1.25 on each liter of gasoline being illegally shipped across the borders.
The findings come days after Iran decided to increase the price of gasoline and impose restrictions on the regular delivery of the fuel to the motorists.
Authorities said the move, which sparked protests on the streets, was needed to contain rampant smuggling of gasoline.
Iran, an importer of gasoline until 2010, currently produces around 110 million liters of the fuel each day. The government believes smuggling has reached 40 million liters a day this year as the illegal business has become more lucrative in light of growing demand for the fuel in the neighboring countries.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday, two days after fuel price hikes were announced, that the country would be forced to resume imports of gasoline by 2021 if smuggling and rising consumption of the fuel is not contained.