Iran: Banned Goods Go Up in Smoke

From bottles of wine to heroin hauls, the Iranian authorities stage public shows to destroy illegally smuggled goods.
November 2, 2010
Tehran police display confiscated wine and spirits. It is illegal to import, sell and consume alcohol. Bottles are lined up by category before being ceremonially smashed. (Photo: Yunes Khani, Mehr News Agency)
Tehran police display confiscated wine and spirits. It is illegal to import, sell and consume alcohol. Bottles are lined up by category before being ceremonially smashed. (Photo: Yunes Khani, Mehr News Agency)
A road-roller is driven over cans of beer. (Photo: Mohammad Reza Dehdari, Fars News Agency)
A road-roller is driven over cans of beer. (Photo: Mohammad Reza Dehdari, Fars News Agency)
A large warehouse in Shiraz holds smuggled goods including cosmetics, food and drink, and clothing. (Photo: Ali Shaigan, Fars News Agency)
A large warehouse in Shiraz holds smuggled goods including cosmetics, food and drink, and clothing. (Photo: Ali Shaigan, Fars News Agency)
These smuggled shoes are destined for destruction. (Photo: Ali Shaigan, Fars News Agency)
These smuggled shoes are destined for destruction. (Photo: Ali Shaigan, Fars News Agency)
Smuggled clothes are burned in ovens for health and safety reasons. (Photo: Ali Shaigan, Fars News Agency)
Smuggled clothes are burned in ovens for health and safety reasons. (Photo: Ali Shaigan, Fars News Agency)
Tehran police talk to reporters after seizing a consignment of items including health supplements and sexual stimulants. (Photo: Majid Asgaripour, Mehr News Egency)
Tehran police talk to reporters after seizing a consignment of items including health supplements and sexual stimulants. (Photo: Majid Asgaripour, Mehr News Egency)
Smuggled medicines have no certification and may be fake. (Photo: Meghdad Madadi, Fars News Agency)
Smuggled medicines have no certification and may be fake. (Photo: Meghdad Madadi, Fars News Agency)
Petrol is poured over medicine and cosmetics to make them burn faster. (Photo: Meghdad Madadi, Fars News Agency)
Petrol is poured over medicine and cosmetics to make them burn faster. (Photo: Meghdad Madadi, Fars News Agency)
Smuggled cigarettes are gathered for destruction. (Photo: Hosein Ebrahimi. JamejamOnline)
Smuggled cigarettes are gathered for destruction. (Photo: Hosein Ebrahimi. JamejamOnline)
Special police vans used to bring illegal drugs for destruction. (Mohammad Hassanzadeh, Fars News Agency)
Special police vans used to bring illegal drugs for destruction. (Mohammad Hassanzadeh, Fars News Agency)
Nine tons of illegal drugs about to go up in smoke in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas. (Photo: Abdolhossein Rezvani, Fars News Agency)
Nine tons of illegal drugs about to go up in smoke in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas. (Photo: Abdolhossein Rezvani, Fars News Agency)
These are “vafour”, the traditional Iranian bongs used to smoke opium. (Photo: Hamid Reza Nikomaram, Fars News Agency)
These are “vafour”, the traditional Iranian bongs used to smoke opium. (Photo: Hamid Reza Nikomaram, Fars News Agency)
Preparing to torch a consignment of drugs in Bandar Abbas. (Photo: Abdolhossein Rezvani, Fars News Agency)
Preparing to torch a consignment of drugs in Bandar Abbas. (Photo: Abdolhossein Rezvani, Fars News Agency)
Police pour petrol over confiscated CDs. (Photo: Saeed Soroush, Fars News Agency)
Police pour petrol over confiscated CDs. (Photo: Saeed Soroush, Fars News Agency)
A military band plays some rousing tunes at a drug-burning ceremony. (Photo: Hossein Fatemi, Fars News Agency)
A military band plays some rousing tunes at a drug-burning ceremony. (Photo: Hossein Fatemi, Fars News Agency)

At public ceremonies staged all across Iran, the authorities destroy a wide range of banned goods, sending out a strong message of disapproval.

The items destroyed range from heroin and other narcotics, much of which comes in from neighbouring Afghanistan, through alcohol, which it is illegal to import, to items that are allowed but are smuggled and potentially of dubious quality, such as cigarettes, cosmetics, medicines and dietary supplements,

CDs containing types of music and film frowned on by the regime are also destroyed. These are often seized from cars stopped by police.

The black market in illegal and smuggled goods accounts for a significant amount of economic activity in Iran.

Depending on the nature of the goods, they are crushed under road-rollers or burnt on fires and in furnaces.

The collection of photos shown here reflects the regime’s never-ending effort to curb the trade in these items.

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