Zoroastrian couple in Iran charged for sharing alcohol, hosting mixed parties

A private pool party in Teheran (© Farhad Berahman).

A dual American-Iranian national couple have been formally charged after having hosted parties for influential people in Tehran.

The couple, believed to be owners of a Tehran art gallery, are suspected of encouraging “corruption and debauchery by holding mixed parties,” the prosecutor said according to the Middle East Eye.

In the indictment prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said 4,000 litres of alcohol was found in a building belonging to the couple who, as Zoroastrians, are allowed to have alcohol for private use but now face sentences for having shared the spirits with Muslims.

A separate couple were found quality of “corruption on Earth” for allegedly “founding a cult and attracting individuals” for sexual deviation.

The charge, which was introduced after the 1979 change in regime, carries a death penalty.

Since President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013, the number of police raids are said to have declined but the ban on alcohol and the severe punishments remain in Iran.

Some of the alcohol is smuggled into the country, but many Iranians produce their own. Only members of religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, are allowed to produce and consume alcohol while trade of the intoxicant liquids is completely forbidden.

The couples’ names were not given in the report.