Facing sky-rocking inflation and unemployment, people from Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat) have returned to trekking across the mountains to sell the fuel in order to provide for their families.
Traders from Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province and Ilam Province were going to halt the practice, but the government closed semi-official borders and tightened border security.
Borders are often indistinguishable as towns and villages straddle the international border, leaving many routes open to kolbars (Kurdish cross-border porters) who are willing to take the risk.
"Fuel smuggling has increased 375% compared to a year ago. 1 million liters of fuel have recently been seized," said Ali Khudaweisi, Iran's commissioner for confronting smuggling.
Oil-rich Iran has lower fuel prices than its neighbors.
A liter of "normal grade" gasoline is about $0.06 in Iran, but in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq it’s about $0.80 per liter.
The United States has targeted the Iranian regime with trade sanctions resulting in massive inflation. Energy sanctions are scheduled to go into effect in November.