About 8,078 tons of cigarettes valued at nearly US$83M imported by Iran in first nine months of current Iranian calendar year that began March 21, data shows; figure represents year-over-year increases of 94.5% and 23.6%, respectively, in weight and value

BAKU, Azerbaijan , January 21, 2013 () – About 8,068 tons of cigarettes, valued at nearly $83 million, were imported by Iran in the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21, 2012, ISNA reported.

The figure increased by 94.5 percent and 23.6 percent respectively in weight and value compared to the same period in the preceding year.

Turkey and the UAE were the main source of cigarette exports to Iran.

It is estimated that more than seven billion cigarettes were legally imported into Iran in the first eight months of the current year.

According to the managing director of the Iranian Tobacco Company, some 46 billion cigarettes are projected to be produced in the country by the end of the current year.

Last year, nearly 63.8 million cigarettes were smoked in Iran.

On October 24, 2012, Iranian Customs Administration Director Abbas Memarnejad said that some 7 trillion rials (about $570 million) worth of goods have been smuggled into and out of Iran in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 20.

Around 12,000 cases of smuggling have been registered at customs nationwide, he added.

The smuggling is not confined to fuels, he said, adding that it also includes home appliance and foreign currency.

The irregular importation of some unnecessary goods has damaged the national economy, Anti-Drug Headquarters Secretary General Fada-Hossein Maleki said. "Imports have increased by 12 percent in weight but declined by 16 percent in value. This issue shows that unnecessary goods have been imported in large scale," he noted.

On October 5, MP Alireza Monadi-Sepidan told the Fars News Agency that imports should be regulated and illegal imports of up to $30 billion, which have dented the domestic production, should be curbed.

According to General Inspection Organization's director Mostafa Pourmohammadi, the amount of smuggled goods into the country amounted to around $20 billion in the Iranian year which ended in March 2011. The figure declined by $6 billion in the year to March 2012.

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