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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Tainted alcohol kills 15 in Iran
Smugglers preparing to take alcohol into Iran
Alcohol is smuggled into Iran and available on the black market
Fifteen people have died and another has been left blind after drinking contaminated alcohol in Iran's southern province of Kerman, media reports say.

The alcohol was apparently laced with methanol, the Keyhan newspaper said.

Trade in alcohol has been illegal since the 1979 revolution and is strictly punished. However non-Muslims are allowed to drink in private.

Correspondents say that in practice there is a thriving trade in home brews and smuggled alcohol.

However sometimes ignorant or unscrupulous dealers mix in methanol, which can kill, blind or cause serious damage to major organs.

Contaminated alcohol killed more than 20 people in the southern city of Shiraz in June 2004.

A man was jailed for three years for organising the distribution of toxic alcohol and ordered to pay $25,000 (13,600) in "blood money" to the families of 14 people who died and pressed charges against him.

Fifteen others were jailed over the deaths and given 154 lashes each.

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28 Sep 04 |  Middle East
Toxic alcohol kills 17 Iranians
14 Jun 04 |  Middle East
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