A member of Iran’s Agriculture Commission in parliament says smuggling of domestic livestock out of the country, mainly to Iraq, has intensified, leading to price hikes.
“Due to the weak controls on smuggling, the management of anti-smuggling efforts has been handed to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” Ali Mohammad Shaeri told state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) March 11.
"I have heard that livestock is imported to Iran, but immediately reloaded on ships and planes to be exported to other countries,” said Shaeri’s fellow MP, Nasser Mousavi Largani.
The government subsidizes essential food imports by supplying cheap dollars and smuggling the meat out of the country means some people are making huge profits.
Red meat prices soared last February, reaching 1,200,000 rials per kilo (approximately $10.00 per 2.2 pounds based on free market rate), according to some reports. Images of people waiting in long lines to buy poultry and beef at subsidized prices were widely circulated on the social media at the time.
This might seem to be reasonable prices in other countries but minimum wage in Iran is less than a $100 monthly.
The Ministry of Agricultural Jihad, the body overseeing agriculture in Iran, has declared it was offering subsidized meat for sale online.