A foreign vessel smuggling 300 thousand liters of fuel was stopped and confiscated by Iranian law enforcement police in the country’s southern port city of Minab. Law enforcement commander of Iran’s southern province of Hormozgan, Mansour Dashti told FNA Thursday that the vessel was still loading more fuel, adding that his troops have arrested 9 crews, 8 of whom are foreign nationals from the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Also last week, the Iranian coast guard troops confiscated another foreign vessel smuggling 500 thousand liters of fuel off Iranian coasts in the Persian Gulf.
Iran, the second-biggest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), started rationing gasoline on June 27.
The fuel scheme was introduced to curb soaring consumption which far outstripped the country’s ability to produce petrol. Cheap pump prices have encouraged such consumption that the OPEC number two oil producer ironically has to spend billions of dollars each year importing petrol. Iran was importing about 40 per cent of its needs before rationing began, costing it some $5 billion a year.
Iran has already raised pump prices by 25%, to around 10 cents per liter, and forced consumers to use smart cards to keep track of their purchases.