Would the threat of prison or death deter you from drinking alcohol? It sure would make me think twice.
In Iran, if you get caught selling booze you not only face jail time, but thousands of dollars in fines and possibly lashings for flouting the Islamic Republic's blanket ban on drinking, which is prohibited under Islam.
Yet every day more and more people flaunt the laws by selling booze. Why, because their customer base is growing rapidly.
After years of being in public denial over the amount of illegal drinking in the country, officials in Iran are for the first time publicly addressing the issue of alcoholism and the health problems drinking can cause, exacerbated by sometimes dangerous homemade brews.
Drinking in Iran is a Crime!
But even as officials acknowledge the problem, the government continues to treat drinking as a sin and a crime. This as reported in the LA Times.
Recently, two men in a northeastern province were given rare death sentences for drinking, as part of the country's three-strikes law. Each man had been convicted of drinking twice before.
More than 200,000 people in Iran are estimated to be involved in bootlegging, and about $800 million is spent annually on smuggling. The country's leading economic newspaper this year quoted border police as saying that the amount of confiscated alcohol had risen 69%.
If death is not a deterrent, what is? Would alcohol classes make a difference here? Who knows, but despite heavy punishment drinking continues to rise in Iran.