Alcohol In Iran

Iran has banned Alcohol after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. However, the government and people are having a hard time addressing the problem of Alcohol. This issue is covered up and pushed  aside up until now. Intense debates have been held on how to tackle this problem.

Here are some facts about the Iran Alcohol problem

  • Alcohol was banned in 1979
  • 200,000 alcoholics in Iran
  • 829 drivers banned in 2011/2012 after alcohol related offenses
  • 60-80 million liters or $730m of alcohol smuggled into Iran each year
  • 80% is smuggled in from Iran’s western border
  • 69% increase in seizures over the past year
  • It is estimated that only 20-30% is actually confiscated

“We receive worrying reports from hospitals and physicians about an increase in alcohol consumption in the southern districts of Tehran,” said Baqer Larijani, the head of the Health Ministry’s Policy-Making Council.

Abbasali Nasehi, the director-general of the Health Ministry’s Mental Health Department, expressed similar concerns, saying: “We have little information about alcohol addiction in the country. We have around two million drug addicts in the country, and some of them are also addicted to alcohol.”


A Iran’s police chief, Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam, had previously said there were only 200,000 alcoholics in Iran, but others had cast doubts about the figure, saying it would be higher. Another concern raised by health officials and the police is a rise in drunk-driving. In 2011-2012, Iran’s police withdrew the driving licences of 829 drivers, including 43 women, who had failed to pass alcohol and drug tests. Most recently, alcohol tests taken from drivers in Tehran in the period of 20 April-20 May showed that 26% of them were drunk. A further major concern of Iranian health officials is a general unwillingness among relevant authorities to admit to such problems. The consumption of alcoholic drinks is Haram. Some officials conceal the facts that raise awareness so that it’s not spread throughout the country.

“There have always been attempts to conceal alcohol-related problems in the country, but alcohol consumption and an increase in alcoholism are facts.”-Ahmadi-Moqaddam (police chief)

The Market

Based on statistics available in 2011, every year around $730 million worth of alcoholic drinks are smuggled into Iran. Some 80% of the alcohol is brought in through its Western border, from Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to the border police, the amount of alcohol seized in the year ending March 2012 increased by 69%.

” The amount of alcohol that is confiscated is only 20 to 30% of the total volume of alcohol in the country,” said Hasan Musavi-Chelak, the head of the Social Workers Society.

It is estimated that around 60 million to 80 million liters of alcoholic beverages are smuggled into Iran each year.  Alcohol was banned and bars closed down a few months after the revolution. With the introduction of Islamic law, drinkers faced severe punishments such as large fines and even public beatings. People continue to produce and consume their home-made and smuggled alcohol restrictions.

I feel that Alcohol should not be banned in Iran, but rather uplifted. People will always drink so why not make it legal and regulate it? The United States had the same problem during Prohibition and they eventually made it legal and regulated the alcohol.


One thought on “Alcohol In Iran

  1. People are going to drink no matter what, their is no way around it. But, it is going to happen more when it is illegal just because people want to go against the law. Iran needs to start thinking smarter, and realize if they legalize alcohol then they can sell it as a country, which in return Iran could potentially recieve money by taxing the product. Every country has gone through its alcohol problems, just like Tyler mentioned about about the US above. Alcohol is not as bad as people think it is, but only if consumed in moderation and in a safe environment.

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