In the Islamic Republic of Iran, alcohol is banned. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be found — if you call the right phone number.
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That’s what a member of an Alcoholics Anonymous support group that meets in Iran tells The New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink, in a scene from the upcoming FRONTLINE series, “Our Man in Tehran.”
“You call someone who sells it and they come and deliver it to you,” the AA member tells Erdbrink, who has lived in and reported from Tehran since 2001. “They bring it in a paper bag, you pay them, and they’re off again.”
If they’re caught drinking, the consequences can be steep, another of the group’s members tells Erdbrink. “I was arrested and got 77 lashes,” he says in the above excerpt. “They use leather whips, just like with a horse. That’ll hurt, yeah. My skin was all torn apart.”
But while alcohol itself is banned in Iran, an American remedy for alcohol abuse isn’t. For use by Iranians attending AA meetings, the country’s Ministry of Information has given permission to print a book by AA co-founder Bill Wilson outlining the 12-step program.
Watch “Our Man in Tehran” starting August 13, 2018: https://to.pbs.org/2KhoCQ5
On Monday, August 13 and Tuesday, August 14, FRONTLINE presents “Our Man in Tehran” – a revealing series on life inside Iran, with New York Times correspondent Thomas Erdbrink. In this two-night documentary special, Erdbrink shares a rare journey into a private Iran often at odds with its conservative clerics and leaders. The series offers surprising encounters inside the closed society of Iran, as Erdbrink gets Iranians to reveal the intricacies of their private worlds and the challenges of living under theocratic leaders.
FRONTLINE is streaming more than 200 documentaries online, for free, here: http://to.pbs.org/hxRvQP
Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, The John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.