According to state media reports on Wednesday, at least 15 individuals in Iran have lost their lives due to alcohol poisoning from consuming illicit alcohol. The number of such fatalities is on the rise throughout the country.
The highest judicial official in the nation also disclosed that approximately 180 people are currently undergoing treatment in hospitals for poisoning-related issues.
“So far, 15 people have died and 180 people have been poisoned and hospitalised,” Hossein Fazeli Harikandi, the chief justice of Alborz province, where the poisonings took place, told state news agency IRNA.
Most of those hospitalised had since been discharged, he said, but “some have gone blind”, while others were undergoing dialysis after suffering kidney damage.
Iran banned the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Ever since, smuggled and unregulated alcohol has proliferated on the black market, with methanol often added to drinks as a cheaper alternative to ethanol.
The authorities in Alborz province have arrested six people and seized more than 6,000 litres (1,585 gallons) of alcohol from a cosmetic factory before its distribution, Harikandi said.
Iran’s forensic institute said 644 people died after consuming “fake alcoholic beverages” in the year to March, a 30 per cent increase on the previous 12-month period.
In May 2022, eight people died in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas after drinking bootleg alcohol.
At least 210 people died in Iran during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 after drinking bootleg alcohol, falsely believing it to be a remedy for the virus.