The head of Iran’s Anti Smuggling Task Force says smugglers are reaping financial rewards from their activities in Iran equal to the country’s development budgets for 20 years.

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Habibollah Haghighi told IRNA on Thursday November 26 that the movement of smuggled goods in and out of the country is providing smugglers with over $20 billion a year.

He said smuggling costs the country at least 20,000 jobs annually.

Haghighi said another risk that grows with the spread of smuggling is the health hazards from the use of expired medication and substandard cosmetic products. These health hazards, he said, are at times irreparable.

Haghighi said one obstacle in the fight against smugglers is the lack of adequate X-ray equipment for checking imported containers.

Currency, fuel, household appliances, clothing and mobile phones are reportedly among the most popular smuggled items.