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Iran’s Regime Organized Smuggling Network

The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and other regime institutions control the entire organized network of smuggling.
The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and other regime institutions control the entire organized network of smuggling.

While the Iranian regime kills deprived porters under the pretext of smuggling, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and other regime institutions control the entire organized network of smuggling.  

According to the regime’s parliamentary investigation board’s 2020 report, more than a third of imported goods are smuggled into the country by institutions affiliated with the regime.  

How the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps IRGC plunders Iran’s economy

“In its investigations, the Investigation Board obtained 31 methods of smuggling, which, despite officials’ statements, including the officials of the Customs Organization, more than 95% of these cases are carried out in the form of official procedures from official sources,” wrote the State-run IRNA News Agency on May 16, 2020.  

“According to the report, “about 95% of smuggled goods enter the domestic market. The volume of smuggling can make more than 35% of imports,” the report adds.  

On April 29, 2021, the regime’s Judiciary Chief, Ebrahim Raisi, also acknowledged the systematic and official smuggling and said, “Commodity smugglers are more organized today than ever before.”   

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The regime’s parliamentary investigation board’s 2020 report underlines the weak reaction of 12 institutions in dealing with the organized smuggling. These institutions include Chamber of Commerce, Customs Organization, Ministry of Economy, Secretariat of Free and Special Economic Zones, Chamber of Trade Unions, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Organization for the Collection and Sale of Proprietary Property, Chamber of Cooperation, Ministry of Interior, Radio and Television Organization, State Security Force and Ministry of Health.  

The question is why these institutions act “weak” in combatting smuggling? How powerful are the smugglers that these 12 governmental institutions are unable to confront them?  

The reality is that the IRGC dominates Iran’s smuggling network due to its domination of the entire economy. The IRGC controls 114 ports and 25 airports and uses them for smuggling goods to Iran or other illicit activities.  

According to a report published by the Iranian Resistance in 2017, “State-linked institutions, including the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), have taken control over Iran’s ports, and are meddling in customs affairs, literally transforming these economic centers to transits used to smuggled goods. The IRGC, by taking control over the country’s most important economic routes and establishing a major financial empire, has taken full control over large portions of Iran’s imports/export.”  

In addition to ports and airports, the IRGC has thousands of front companies facilitating the selling of these smuggled goods.  

The Iranian regime’s organized smuggling has vastly damaged the country’s economy. Every billion dollars of imported goods destroys more than 100,000 jobs, let alone tens of billions. At the same time, many production centers are facing bankruptcy and closure. These devastating economic consequences have increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

While the IRGC controls this large network of smuggling, its forces shoot and kill impoverished fuel porters in southeast Iran or porters in northwest Iran who carry small loads to make their ends meet and feed their families.  

The IRGC kills these porters while its profits up to $30 billion a year through smuggling. The Iranian opposition leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, has stated previously that “the clerical regime plunders the wealth of the people of Iran or wastes it on war and suppression. Children of the regime’s leaders are living lavish lives in Europe and the U.S. while deprived Iranian children have to work as porters.”