Bottles of bootleg alcoholic drinks

Iranian Health Ministry Calls For Crackdown On Bootleg Alcohol

Tuesday, 08/08/2023

Amid surging cases of alcohol poisonings, Iran’s deputy health minister has urged a crackdown on counterfeit alcohol distributors.

Saeed Karimi said, "We request the judiciary to deal with those who intentionally distribute fake alcoholic beverages, as equivalent to murder."

Demonstrating the extent of the problem spiraling across the country, he said, "There have been so many alcohol poisonings that numerical statistics are no longer important, and it is important to prevent them from happening."

For decades, alcohol poisoning caused by the consumption of counterfeit alcoholic beverages has plagued Iran, leading to fatalities, blindness, and serious injuries. Despite the Islamic regime's prohibition on alcohol, a recent survey by Iran Open Data revealed that half of all adults continue to regularly consume alcohol, often turning to homemade beverages to circumvent the ban.

Over the past three months, Iranian cities have experienced a distressing wave of alcohol poisonings, resulting in an average of around 10 hospitalizations and deaths per day, as reported by local news outlets. Methanol, a toxic compound found in homemade distilled alcohol and counterfeit brand bottles, is the primary culprit behind the alarming increase in poisonings.

These incidents have shed light on the complex relationship between Iran's religious regulations and the personal lives of its citizens. Many Iranians view these deaths as emblematic of the intrusion of religious rules into their daily routines and freedoms.

A 2018 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) placed Iran ninth out of 189 countries in terms of alcohol consumption per capita, underscoring the persistence of alcohol consumption despite the state's ban.

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