Sometimes the question arises in the minds of the visitors of our country whether Iranians drink; if they can, if they do, and if it is legal.

Here we try to answer some of these questions.

What you will read in the following article:

  • Why is it illegal to drink in Iran
  • How is this law carried out in Iranians’ lives?
  • Drinking in Iran Before the Islamic Revolution, and After
  • Can tourists access bars and alcohol in Iran?

Why is it illegal to drink in Iran

It is a fact well-known by many, that in Islam, one of the major religious groups in the world, drinking alcoholic beverages, and consuming pork, is haram (sinful, prohibited).

Islam is the official religion of Iran, and this Muslim rule is implemented across the country by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

How is this law carried out in Iranianas’ lives?

Drinking is prohibited in both public and private areas.

We cannot purchase, sell, or possess alcoholic beverages. We do not have wine menus in our restaurants and no alcohol section in our supermarkets.

There are no bars, discotheques, clubs, or pubs that we go to in order to wind down either.

drinking alcohol in Iran legal or illegal prohibited 2

Drinking in Iran Before the Islamic Revolution, and After

Was it always this way? Well, it is complicated.

Ever since the Muslim conquest of Iran in the seventh century, a portion of Iranians practice this religion devoutly.

At the close of the fourteenth century, after Timur’s campaigns, Islam had become the dominant faith. For a very long time, the practice of abstaining from alcohol was part of the culture for pious Muslims of the land.

It was not, however, in terms of legislation, prohibited. Certain regions of Iran were renowned for their fertile vineyards and high quality yield of grapes.

Some of our acclaimed poets broach drunkenness and the glint of wine in their glasses repeatedly (literal wine or figurative, is a matter open to interpretation).

During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, drinking was legal in most cities. Bars served alcoholic beverages to adults past the legal drinking age of 18, and people could frequent pubs to spend time with their friends or go to cabarets to watch artists dance and sing.

All of this came to an end with the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Drinking alcohol is now forbidden in all public places, and all bars are shut down.

drinking alcohol in Iran legal or illegal prohibited before revolution 2

Drinking In Iran-before 1979 revolution

Under current legislation, in our country, no matter how much one has had to drink, they are convicted and could be sentenced to flogging and/or a fine.

So you’re saying no one drinks alcohol in Iran, right?

It is not that no one in the entire country of Iran drinks alcohol. For example, some Iranians tend to make and serve their own wine or beer at home.

Otherwise, some civilians attempt to access alcohol through the black market. These imported drinks put people in danger.

Because the drink that they buy often has substandard quality, or worse, it may consist of methanol or other poisonous liquids.

Can tourists access bars and alcohol in Iran?

As we said before, you cannot find any bars or legally buy alcohol in Iran. We recommend that you do not buy any from the black market either, because it is risky and unsafe.

We understand that drinking occasionally can be a matter taken for granted by most people of the world, however, acquiring an alcoholic drink in Iran can prove difficult.

Hence, if you are pondering visiting our ancient and captivating land, whether to immerse yourself in the cultural aspects or for vacationing in the calm nature, or for skiing and mountaineering, be aware of the prohibitions and regulations that the Islamic Republic of Iran has put in effect.

If you’re interested you can also take a look at our Top Iranian Drinks article.