Around two million metres of fabric are illegally imported into Iran each year reports The Tehran Times.

According to the newspaper, textile factory manager Aliasghar Yousefi said the country needed between 700 million and 1 billion metres of cloth annually. But problems such as smuggling, surplus manpower, high interest rates, various duties, inconsistent tax rules, violation of labour laws and the bad public image of manufacturers are making it difficult for the country's textile industry to compete.

Not only is there competition with European manufacturers, but the lack of modern equipment and machinery has also made it more difficult for Iran to compete with producers in neighbouring states.

However, Yousefi said that prospects for the textile industry are looking up with Parliament's recent bill to upgrade the industry.