As Economic Sanctions Bite, Iranians Knock Back Another Drink


(Photo: Jef Safi/Flickr)

An entrepreneur based in Tehran says Iranians are increasingly turning to alcohol to cope with the myriad social problems brought on, in part, by economic sanctions. This businessman can't use his real name for security reasons — so he goes by the name "Behzad."

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"The way alcohol is being sold in Iran is underground. You know a person, who knows a person, who can deliver you the alcohol by your doorstep," Behzad says.

Many Tehran residents were alarmed by the recent decision of Iran's Supreme Court to uphold a ruling calling for the execution of two individuals found guilty of imbibing, according to Behzad.

"This was completely surprising to us," he says. "We never had an execution for alcohol before. And this was not for executing people who were smuggling alcohol, but people who were consuming it. A lot of people consume alcohol in Iran.