"The picture looks like a James Bond movie. You have individuals with black suitcases carrying gold," said Behzad Yaghmaian, an Iranian-American political economist at Ramapo College.
"This could not have happened in any form without the knowledge of the Turkish state. This amount could not have left the country to go to Iran without the state knowing about it."
The Turkish government has not responded to a written request from CNN to comment on the gold trade.
Some concerned observers worry the economic intrigue threatens to draw attention from the growing impact the U.S.-led sanctions are having on ordinary Iranians.
"Sanctions are a form of collective punishment on the Iranian people," said Yaghmaian, the author of "Social Change in Iran: An Eyewitness Account of Dissent, Defiance and New Movements for Rights."
"Iranians who oppose the Islamic Republic (of Iran), who have been under pressure by the Islamic Republic, who have been subjected to different forms of violence by the Islamic Republic, are once again facing a new form of violence that is economic violence."
Iranians have watched their buying power collapse over the last year, as the value of the Iranian rial plunged. There have also been reports of shortages of foreign pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, since Iranian companies have found it next to impossible to pay foreign suppliers because of restrictions on international banking.