A prominent reformist politician and activist in Iran has asked the government to reconsider its policy towards consumption of alcohol, saying that the ban on drinking is a “failed” policy.
Mostafa Tajzadeh, who is a former official and has served time in prison for his political views, spoke on March 31 about new incidents of alcohol poisoning. Recently, there have been dozens of deaths in Iran among people who buy homemade alcohol.
The Islamic Republic banned alcoholic drinks after the Iranian revolution in 1979. This has led to large-scale smuggling and bootleg alcohol business in the country, sometimes with tragic consequences.
Tajzadeh in a tweet said that the first duty of any government is to save the lives of its citizens.
Muslims are banned from consuming alcoholic drinks and those who are arrested can receive jail terms and public lashing.
However, the tough policy has failed to stop the public health threat of poisonous alcohol being sold to unsuspected citizens. Last week, 240 people were taken to hospital in the city of Tabriz.
Tajzadeh said that more people will go blind or go into coma before the Islamic Republic realizes it has a failed policy.