Police in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, have seized over 180,000 litres (47,550 gallons) of smuggled fuel, media reported on Monday, citing a police official.
Sistan and Baluchestan police chief Brigadier General Mohammad Ghanbari stated that three fuel depots and seven tank trucks were seized and that 65 smugglers had been arrested, Iran’s Mehr news outlet said.
Despite the Iranian government’s creation of markets in Iran’s border regions to prevent the illegal trade of gasoline, smuggling in these areas has increased in recent months in the wake of further US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and rising fuel consumption.
According to Alireza Zeighami, Iran’s deputy oil minister for refining and distribution, fuel is generally being smuggled from Iran through cities bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.
This most recent seizure was part of an increased campaign by Iranian police officials to prevent the illicit trade of gasoline. Between March and October, 7.7 million litres of smuggled fuel were seized in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan province.