Iran Acknowledges Alcohol Problem

    An Iranian cleric chants slogans, as a protester holds two bottles which he believes contain alcoholic beverages, inside the British Embassy which was stormed by hard-line protesters, Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. Dozens of hard-line Iranian students stormed the building bringing down the Union Jack flag and throwing documents from windows in scenes reminiscent of the anger against Western powers after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The mob moved into the diplomatic compound two days after Iran's parliament approved a bill that reduces diplomatic relations with Britain following London's support of recently upgraded Western sanctions on Tehran over its disputed nuclear program. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    Vahid Salemi / AP Photo

    Despite an outright ban on alcohol and moral police who set up checkpoints at night in search of those defying it, Iran has a drinking problem. For the first time, officials in Iran, where the strict version of Islam enforced by authorities coexists uneasily with a young population, have acknowledged the prevalence of alcoholism in the country, as well as the damage it can cause. Part of the problem stems from the fact that even as Iran increasingly sees alcohol abuse as a public-health issue, the country continues to treat it as a sin and a crime—recently, two men in the country’s northeast were sentenced to death for having had a drink on multiple occasions.

    Read it at LA Times