Methanol cannot be smelled or tasted in drinks. It causes delayed organ and brain damage. Symptoms include chest pain, nausea, hyperventilation, blindness and even coma.
In Iran, the government mandates that manufacturers of toxic methanol add an artificial color to their products so the public can tell it apart from ethanol, the kind of alcohol that can be used in cleaning wounds. Ethanol is found in alcoholic beverages, though its production is illegal in Iran.
Some bootleggers in Iran use methanol, adding a splash of bleach to mask the added color before selling it as drinkable. Methanol also can contaminate traditionally fermented alcohol.
The consumption of alcohol is generally prohibited in Iran. However, minority Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians can drink alcoholic beverages in private.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, Iran’s government announced it would issue permission for new alcohol factories quickly.
Iran has currently some 40 alcohol factory that have been allocated for pharmaceutical and sanitizing items.
Already before the outbreak, the Iranian economy was struggling under severe U.S. sanctions blocking the sale of its crude oil abroad.