Prohibition Fails in Iran

Islamic law and tradition strictly forbid the consumption of alcohol. Religiously-based prohibition is the law of the land in the Islamic Republic of Iran. But the country's severe zero tolerance policy hasn't stopped drinking.

Many in the Islamic Republic drink alcohol beverages regularly. Bootlegging is widespread and police report that alcohol production plants have even been built close to Iran's borders to supply the demand for alcohol. Says one Iranian, "I can choose through the list my alcohol dealer gives to me, then I call him and he delivers my order in less than 45 minutes."

Some consumers, wary of the contents of black market products, stick to original brands, which also confers prestige in the eyes of their fellow drinkers. And may take pride in their "home brew," inventively made from a variety of agricultural products.

In spite of the danger posed by frequent police raids, Iranians continue to consume alcohol beverages. Prohibition fails, although it is strongly supported by both religion and tradition.

Prohibition has been tried in many countries, but has never been successful. We shouldn't be surprised that prohibition for those under the age of 21 in the US doesn't work either.


  • Hafezi, P. Alcohol Causes Clerical Alarm in Islamic State. Washington Tmes, August 7, 2002, A12.