Judicial Deputy of Tehran Prosecutor on Monday said many of the exporters flagged by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) for not transferring currency earnings to the government FOREX system cannot be identified or are "fake entities".
Speaking on a state-run television program on Monday, Mohammad-Reza Sahebi said some of the people whose names are seen on government foreign trade authorization cards on the 150 person list submitted to the judiciary for prosecution "had no inkling about the exports made in their names".
Getting a government foreign trade authorization card only requires being named as an owner/shareholder of a registered company, the usual identity checks with the police, company address and bank account as well as ownership of a property as a safeguard. Anyone above the age of 23 who meets these criteria can apply for one. Some people sign up for the card and then allow importer-exporters to use it in return for a fee.
Iranian exporters are under pressure to transfer the hard currencies they earn back to Iran due to the shortage of U.S. dollars and other major currencies. The currencies earned from exports must be offered for exchange on the government's Unified FOREX Transactions System (NIMA) where it is used to meet the foreign currency needs of importers.
Some exporters, however, have kept their money in foreign banks due to the huge devaluation of the national currency. The CBI deadline for declaring the export currencies has ended and will not be extended according to the CBI governor. Abdolnaser Hemmati has said that those who failed to repatriate their currency earnings will be required to offer explanations to the Judiciary.
On Sunday Mohsen Zanganeh, a lawmaker and member of parliament's Planning and Budget Committee, said exporters have kept $20 billion abroad and asking the government for certain guarantees before they transfer the currencies back to Iran.
The rate of exchange for the U.S. dollar has been growing alarmingly since mid-June and left the 220,000 rials landmark behind. The devaluation of the national currency is attributed to U.S. sanctions, corruption, and grim economic forecasts for the future in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.