It's not easy to export a product to Iran. Many products need special permits and licenses from various government organizations and ministries to be imported or to be cleared from customs. This has proved to be a very long and breathtaking process for many.
Several samplings and laboratory tests might be needed and you (as the owner of the cargo) are responsible to pay for all sampling and testing and other charges that occur in the way of this ordeal. It is quite ordinary to see a cargo staying over 4 month in customs warehouse before it gets all necessary permissions to leave the customs.
Here is a short list of some organizations that may happen to fall in your way when you are exporting anything to Iran:
1. Ministry of Heath:
All Food Prodcuts, Chemical ingredients that "might be" used as ingredients of food products, all Cosmetics, Drugs, Sanitary Products and alike "Must" get two licences from Ministry of Helath (more precisely now "the Organization of Food and Drugs"): 1. Imports Licence 2. Customs Clearance Permit
Suppose you are importing a chemical substance to Iran which you intend to use in another industry, but that substance is double usage and it has food ingredient application too. How can you assure the Ministry of Health that you are not going to use it for food purpose?! So the Ministry of health permit is needed for that too, and you need to go into the process.
The Imports Licence has to be taken before the product arrives to Iran and takes up to 6 month depending how "complete" are your documents. First of all the importer (it is the consignee in your documents) should be a registered company that it's "company registry certificate" shows that its main activity is the imports of the food product that you intend to import. Company registry documents along with the backgrounds of the Managing Director should be submitted to the organization, if it was approved, the importer should approve a "technical manager" and inform his/her details to the organization. All production licences of the producing factory or manufacturer should be handed over to the organization. All health certificates, licences from other organizations, inspection certificates and standards achieved might be helpful. Your technical Manager should go trough approval process which involves finger prints and all... In the end you may get the imports licence. Then you will be allowed to load your cargo from the origin country.
The Clearance Permit process will be started after cargo arrives to the Iranian customs, whether it's by air or road or sea. After you apply for clearance permit you will have to provide enough documents and if all goes well "Sampling Order" might be issued, but usually there is lots of challenges before the organization lets the sampling begin. If your reach the Sampling step, then samples will be taken from all types of the product that you have imported. Cargo will stay in the customs warehouse and samples in officially sealed envelops of customs will be sent to the laboratory (sometimes only customs officials are allowed to take the sample to the lab). Laboratory will perform any number of tests and and kind of test that the organization fills necessary on the samples, (and it takes as long as it takes!) and customer (it's you) is entitled to pay all charges for the tests as per official rates (very expensive). If the laboratory test is OK, and computer systems of the organization and customs are working and they can see each other, then this OK will be given to the customs and your Health Certificate process is over.
2. Communications Regulatory Authority of Iran (CRA):
All telecommunication devices including (but not limited to) mobiles, antennas, switches, cell phones, network devices, telecom racks, converters... etc must receive the imports permit from CRA.