Turkish main opposition queries report of cash smuggled to Iran
Can Mumay ANKARA
DHA PhotoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Head Sezgin Tanrıkulu has addressed a report claiming that around $1 billion in cash has been smuggled into Iran since March 2014 from Dubai and Turkey, asking whether these claims are true.
At least $1 billion in cash has been smuggled into Iran as it seeks to avoid Western sanctions, a bigger figure than previously reported, Iranian officials and Western intelligence and diplomatic sources said, according to Reuters.
Reuters reported that suitcases full of dollars were carried to Iran from Dubai and sometimes Turkey, the Iranian government official said, claiming that groups of three or four couriers would usually fly first or business class.
Three Western diplomatic sources and three Iranian government officials, who all declined to be identified citing the sensitivity of the issue, said Tehran had been working on ways to obtain dollars since March last year.
The sources said the cash was either hand-carried by couriers on flights from Dubai or Turkey, or brought across the Iraq-Iran border.
Tanrıkulu asked the Turkish government whether these claims were true.
“If they are true, who is responsible for these acts? Do you plan to start an action against those responsible?” he asked.
Tanrıkulu also added that he would like to learn which shadow companies had played a role in the smuggling and how much money these companies had been paid.
Reuters reported on Feb. 24 that sanctions imposed by the West over Iran’s nuclear program have shut Tehran out of the global banking system, making it hard to obtain the U.S. dollars it needs for international transactions.
Interviews by Reuters with Iranian officials and Western diplomatic and intelligence sources show a bigger smuggling effort by Tehran, as well as the routes and methods used, details not previously reported. These sources told Reuters that at least $1 billion in U.S. bank notes had been smuggled into Iran in recent months, with the Iranian central bank playing an important role.
The Central Bank of Iran declined to comment on the Reuters story, as did government officials in Turkey. Authorities in the United Arab Emirates made no immediate comment when contacted, while the UAE Central Bank also declined to comment.