Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Iran's ‘Bitumen Mafia’

Iran is among the world’s top producers of bitumen, a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons usually obtained as a residue from petroleum distillation. It is typically used in applications such as road surfacing, roofing and certain types of paint. Most Irainian national production is distributed free of charge to state-owned entities and affiliates of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. 65% of this, or 2.5 million tons, ends up being exported illicitly. With a bitumen price of $410 per ton, this is equivalent to over $1 billion per year.

None of this returns to ordinary Iranian citizens.