HomeWorldInternationalContaminated bootleg alcohol kills at least 42 in Iran

Contaminated bootleg alcohol kills at least 42 in Iran

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At least 42 people have died after drinking contaminated bootleg alcohol in Iran, a government spokesman said.

Health ministry spokesman Iraj Harirchi said 16 people had gone blind and 170 had undergone dialysis after trying the tainted drink.

In the past three weeks, at least 460 people across five provinces have been hospitalised, with the youngest victim a 19-year-old woman.

Alcohol is illegal in Iran but bootleg booze is widespread.

Police in the southern city of Bandar Abbas last week arrested a couple for allegedly producing home-made alcohol.

BBC Persian’s Rana Rahimpour says it is not unusual for tainted alcohol to cause injuries or deaths in Iran, but what is surprising is the significant numbers of deaths and the spread of the problem to a number of provinces.

Analysts spoken to by the BBC’s Persian service believe the economic impact of the US pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal may be playing a part.

Iranian anti-drugs officials believe that every year 80 million litres of alcohol worth $730 million (£559m) is smuggled into Iran.

Iranian Muslims have been barred from drinking alcohol since the country’s revolution in 1979.

Article 265 of Iran’s Islamic penal code states that the punishment for consumption of alcohol by a Muslim is 80 lashes.

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