Iranian Deputy Minister for Communications and Information Technology Hossein Mehri has criticised application-based courier services for dealing with bootleg alcohol, Iran Labour News Agency reported on October 23.
Alcohol consumption and sales have been illegal in majority-Muslim Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with exceptions to the law granted to Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who are allowed to produce and consume locally made liquor.
According to Mehri, several app-based courier services are being used by illicit alcohol and drug dealers to send items to consumers disguised as other products.
He said the services went mostly unchecked by the authorities and many of the motorbike delivery drivers are not registered with the national courier association, making the situation worse.
Mehri further noted that many of the applications utilised are not licensed and are in fact illegal according to current registration requirements.
In recent years, alcohol consumption and alcoholism rates have skyrocketed in Iran along with the consumption of drugs of all classes. Foreign-produced alcohol is often smuggled in from neighbouring countries, with the most common source being Iraqi Kurdistan.
The news of courier applications being used for ulterior motives comes on the back of recent reports in local Iranian media that a Snapp ride-hailing driver raped a female passenger earlier in October.
Following that incident, the CEO of the firm, Shahram Shahkar, published a statement, reading: “Passenger security is on top of Snapp’s agenda. In order to prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents we are revising our recruitment system.”