File photo of a storehouse used to hoard flour (undated)

A storehouse used to hoard flour

Iran Says It Confiscated Large Quantities Of Smuggled And Hoarded Flour

5/5/2022

Iran says it has stopped large shipments of flour, sugar and vegetable oil from being smuggled out of the country amid a bread and pasta crisis. 

Border Guard Commander Ahmad-Ali Goudarzi said on Thursday that about five tons of flour, four tons of sugar, and 63 tons of vegetable oil have been taken from smugglers at sea and land borders during the past 45 days. 

Tasnim news agency also reported on Thursday that 312 tons of flour and 290 tons of vegetable oil were confiscated from businesses hoarding the essential food staple during the past 48 hours. 

These statements follow a 2-5-fold government price increases for essential food items such as flour. It is not clear how large quantities of flour or cooking could be diverted from the government-controlled distribution system.

According to the ISNA news agency, pasta, which replaced rice for the lower income classes of society as main source of calories, has also become an unaffordable and expensive product.

The government has been insisting that its oil export revenues have increased and it has secured enough supplies of essential commodities, but prices have soared in recent weeks.

The head of the Flour Producers Association says this year Iran must import 20 million tons of grain – including 6 to 7 million tons of wheat -- noting that the country has never been so dependent on imports.

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