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Iran's Parliament Gets Tough On Alcohol

5 July 2005 -- Iran's parliament voted today to toughen up punishments for alcohol makers and traffickers.

Official media said the new law, passed on its first reading, effectively doubles jail terms for alcohol violations. It leaves producers and dealers of alcoholic beverages subject to between three months and one year behind bars, 74 lashes, and fines.

Traffickers will face up to two years in jail. Judges are also prevented from giving suspended jail terms for alcohol crimes, while state employees who offend also face suspension.

The law is subject to a second reading in parliament, and then the approval of the Guardians Council, a hard-line unelected watchdog that screens all legislation.

Iran has a bustling black market for alcohol illegally imported from neighbouring countries, and many Iranians also make their own home brews.