Punishment for drinking alcohol under Islamic law. [IRN4748]

Among the prohibited items of "western" culture in Iran are music, videotapes, films, alcohol, gambling equipment, arms and ammunition. The sale and production of alcohol is strictly prohibited, however since early 1988, alcohol (such as whisky, vodka and other liquor) has become readily available on the black market ("Iranian Revolution Enters 10th Year", Associated Press, 16 February 1988).

The Gashte Zahrah, or "religious vigilantes who patrol the city in unmarked cars watching for moral turpitude" have become a bit less active since the same period ("Iranian Revolution", Ibid). They, or the "pasdaran", are known to interrupt a private party and take people away to a local Komiteh office for reprimanding, or worse, during the war with Iraq, it was not unusual to send offenders to the front as punishment for straying into a "western" decadent lifestyle (Christian Delannoy et Jean-Pierre Pichard, Khomeiny: La révolution trahie. (Paris: Carrere, 1988), pp. 224-225).

The latest available information dated March 1990 mentions that the "judicial system will deal with economic terrorists [those who hoard goods or engage in profiteering] with the punishment of execution". Among those included in the definition of hoarders and profiteers would be drug smugglers, trafickers and users, those who create black markets, or those involved in any corrupt activity which "...cause disruption in the economic affairs of the country, even if they are in government departments...". The article adds that the revolutionary courts have the duty to "deal severely with those who do not observe Islamic appearance and Islamic injunctions" such as in cases involving forbidden practices (drinking alcohol or improper observance of the "hijab").