Industry insiders point to a more insidious problem: corruption. Seven years of mass imports have not only made Iran dependent on foreign suppliers, but have also bred a class of predatory officials who get kickbacks from import deals.
One Iranian producer of a vital cancer treatment product, who asked to remain anonymous because he feared losing his license, said he was ready to start production, after three years of investments and quality checks.
“But it turns out the cousin of the health official in charge of signing off on our product had been importing the product in bulk from Europe before the sanctions,” the producer said.
“It’s just bewildering how selfish some of these people are,” he said. Even with stock drying up, “They still will not give us our license to produce inside Iran.”