IRGC dismantles fuel smuggling network
Iranian authorities also announced the seizure of a ship smuggling 90,000 liters of fuel near Kish Island
By News Desk - June 16 2022

IRGC Navy (Photo credit: IRNA)

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced on 16 June the dismantlement of a large, organized fuel smuggling ring that had stolen subsidized fuel products to sell on the international black market.

The IRGC declared that the organized crime ring was one of the largest in the country, and attributed its discovery to “accurate and professional intelligence operation.”

The statement noted that the smuggling ring was active in a total of eight provinces, without specifying the names of the provinces. Members of the network were arrested and handed over to the judiciary system.

The smugglers were seeking to illegally export the goods to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. More than 200 million liters of petrochemical products were smuggled by this crime syndicate.

On the same day, Chief Justice of Iran’s Hormozgan Province Mojtaba Qahremani announced that a ship with 90,000 liters of smuggled fuel was seized near Kish Island off the coast of Iran.

Iranian state news agency IRNA reported that the captain and crew of the fuel-smuggling ship were arrested after criminal warrants were issued against them.

The Iranian navy has recently increased operations against fuel smuggling in the Persian Gulf, through which much of the world’s oil is transported.

Chief Justice Qahremani announced a previous bust of a smuggling operation on 30 May, when authorities in Iran seized a ship carrying 106,500 liters of smuggled fuel.

Iranian media reported on 18 May that its navy had seized a foreign tanker in the waters of the Persian Gulf, attempting to smuggle 550,000 liters of fuel out of the country.

In April, the IRGC seized a foreign ship with 250,000 liters of smuggled fuel onboard.

“The fight against smuggling in the Persian Gulf, particularly fuel, is one of the important missions of the navy,” Gholam Hossein Hosseini, a public relations official of the IRGC, said at the time.

Harsh economic sanctions imposed by the US in 2018, and the fact that Iran is home to huge oil and gas reserves, may explain the existence of numerous fuel smuggling networks.

Iranian media has estimated that between seven and 10 million liters of crude oil and diesel were smuggled out of Iran last year.

Despite US sanctions, Iran’s oil revenue has increased by at least 60 percent since the start of the Iranian calendar year.

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