Iran says over nine million liters of fuel is smuggled out of the country every day, citing highly subsidized prices as the main reason for the illicit trade.
Mojtaba Mahfouzi, who represents the oil-rich city of Abadan, said during a TV show on Monday that the subsidized price of diesel fuel in Iran is one US cent per lieter, or 60 times less than bulk rates in the Persian Gulf region.
The spokesman for the anti-trafficking taskforce of Iran’s customs administration, Hamidreza Dehghannia, said during the same TV program that there is no exact data but the daily volume of the total petroleum products that are smuggled from the country is about nine million liters (2.37 million gallons).
Mahfouzi then noted such a high volume of smuggling cannot be done by ordinary traffickers, adding that “undoubtedly” there are mafias behind the scenes to get the fuels to the smugglers.
In 2019, a top anti-smuggling official in Iran had put the daily amount of the trafficked gasoline and diesel at around 11 million liters or close to 3 million gallons.
Iranian authorities never offer any explanation on how such a huge volume of fuel can be smuggled out without being detected.
Also on Monday, Oil Minister Javad Owji denied reports that the government intends to raise the gasoline price.