499,000 liters of smuggled fuel seized in SE Iran

TEHRAN, Sep. 24 (MNA) – According to police chief of Sistan and Balouchestan, southeast province of Iran, some 499,000 liters of smuggled fuel have been seized in previous week.

Police Chief of Sistan and Balouchestan province Brigadier General Mohammad Ghanbari said on Tuesday that through extensive operations carried out by police forces, 4 fuel smuggling bands are dismantled and 499,000 liters of smuggled fuel have been seized in Zahedan, Saravan, Iranshahr and Chabahar.

9 fuel depots and 107 tank-trucks have been confiscated during the operations, he added.

Although Iranian rial has experienced a severe depreciation against international currencies in recent months, fuel prices have remained unchanged and this has multiplied the lucrativeness of fuel smuggling in Iran.

As reported in early June, Iran has launched a border market to sell diesel fuel to buyers in Pakistan and Afghanistan to counter smuggling of fuel ate border areas.

As the US and European Union tighten sanctions on Iran, a lucrative cross-border industry of smuggling fuel and goods has emerged, bolstered by a sharp drop in the value of the Iranian currency.

Fuel, especially diesel, is being moved illegally out of the country through cities bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey, says Alireza Zeighami, deputy oil minister for refining and distribution.

Between 7 million-10 million liters of petrol and diesel are smuggled out every day, according to Iranian state media. Analysts are attributing a 7 percent rise in fuel consumption to an increase in smuggling activity.

ZZ/4727370

News Code 150404

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