Iran’s intelligence ministry busted a large tobacco smuggling network, reports Press TV. According to the ministry, members of the network were operating in 10 Iranian provinces as part of 15 connected smuggling bands.
Millions of dollars from the illicit products were funneled into bank accounts outside Iran via illegal currency exchange shops. Foreign sanctions have caused a shortage of hard currency resources, leading to Iran introducing strict regulations to crack down on smuggling. Preventing smuggling is also part of Iran’s plans to help domestic manufacturers and prevent use of unsafe products.
Increased prices of domestically produced cigarettes have led to an increase in smuggling, according to some experts.
The smuggling bust led to 60 arrests and the closure of over 100 warehouses used to store the illicit tobacco products.