Psyche Spinner

Iran's poorest on drugs


Psyche Spinner
by Setareh Sabety

My mother just returned to Iran. When she called this morning I thought she was just calling to inform me of her safe arrival. Instead, her voice was shaking. Fatemeh Khanoom, the woman who cleans my mother's house and whom I had written about for women's day, was there bearing the news that her husband had gone insane. "Why?" I asked my mother, she replied, "You know how he was an opium addict?" I answer yes. "Well," my mom continued, "he took a pill the dealer gave him called Ravangardan (psyche spinner) and he went insane. He broke everything in the house and went on the rooftop yelling at the top of his voice." She added, "Fekr konam hamoon LSDieh. I think it is that LSD."

I was shocked and upset that poor Fatemeh Khanoom, who is working hard to support her addict husband and her precocious school-aged son, was once again suffering at the hands of the former. I asked my mother to calm down and pass the phone to Fatemeh.

She took the phone and congratulated me for my son's graduation. This woman, who cannot read or write but who, despite all her problems, is still so extremely gracious and civil made me feel ashamed of my own spoiled impatience with the world. After telling her that my son kisses her hand and sends his thanks, I asked her to explain what happened.

Her husband was not home when she got back to the outskirts of Karaj from her day's work in Tehran. She was used to him disappearing every once in a while only to come back home totally high. These were the times when he would use the strong heroin sold on the streets of Tehran. I had met her husband and he had told me the story of his drug addiction. He recounted to me rather boastfully that he had been a heroin addict before he had gone to Kerman with his wife -- who comes from a village of opium addicts there -- and weaned himself off of heroin using opium. From then on he had started eating opium because he could not afford to consume it by smoking.

Sometime in the middle of one night Fatemeh got a call from the police, who asked her to come and take her husband. He was scarred from a fall, she guessed, and was talking nonsense. A policeman charged her 8000 toomans (around $8) to get him home in a hired car. When he came home he broke everything he could of their meager belongings. For the past week he has been going through bouts of silence followed by violent and strange behavior. "He goes on the roof and yells, he talks to imaginary guests," says Fatemeh in a monotone that betrays the kind of resignation stemming from repeated misfortune.

"What did he take?" I asked. "The police and his friends say it was Ravangardan." "What is that?" I inquired. "It is a pill that the dealer gave him." I asked her why she does not ask their local mosque for help; she replies that they don't help addicts. I asked her if she can take him to a mental clinic; she said they told her that he was not 'crazy' enough. When I inquire if are any rehab clinics for him, she answers, "there are 'camps' where they take addicts but one has to pay 150,000 toomans (around $150) for them and he has to sign himself in, which he refuses to do." She tells me she can't make him. I asked Fatemeh if the police had any advice. "No," she said, "they said if you file a complaint it will cost you up to 25,000 toomans and he will get away anyway. These people only keep those for whom they can charge a lot of money in order to release; they don't detain poor people for long." She would have liked them to have kept him at least for the night.

I called a friend of mine who is well versed in these matters and had just come back from Tehran a couple of weeks ago. I asked him if he has heard of a drug named Ravangardan. He told me that he has not but that it could be what people in South Tehran call Ecstasy or LSD. I asked him if it is true that there has been a recent flooding of the market with drugs, and he told me yes. A couple of years ago, my friend informed me that Crystal Meth (or Shisheh as Iranians call it) went 100,000 toomans for one gram. Today it costs only 10,000 toomans.

"Ever since the post-election unrest, they dropped the price so that the youth would get high and not take to the streets in protest." I asked him who is 'they', and he replied, "everyone knows that it is the Sepah (IRGC) that sells drugs in Iran." My friend went on to tell me that cocaine was very difficult to find five years ago in Tehran, but it is now readily available for 100,000 toomans a gram. "And it is good coke, they say they get it from Indonesia," he said. "Indonesia? I did not think they produced cocaine there," I said. He told me, "I don't know, that is what everyone says. Maybe they get it from South America; they have good friends there!" South Tehran, with a much poorer population, is on Shisheh while North Tehranis prefer cocaine.

When I lived in Iran during the presidency of Khatami I witnessed widespread use of opium. The traditional Iranian drug that used to be the pastime of older men is now being used by younger men and women. Those who could not afford the more expensive habit of opium smoking took to either eating it or doing the much cheaper and more lethal heroin that came from Pakistan. I remember seeing a man deliver drugs in a brief case at a friend's party. When he left I asked what he had brought and my friend replied, "Grass from the Caspian. He also has Ecstasy that they make right here in Iran." I was shocked that they grew grass in the Caspian region for commercial use and that in Iran, where you could get lashed for drinking a beer, they made Ecstasy pills! My friend told me that the bearded man in the black shirt who delivered the drug had every drug imaginable in his brief case. When I asked why he was not afraid to go around Tehran with a briefcase full of drugs in broad daylight, she informed me that he was a bassij (paramilitary soldier) who securely delivered drugs to the affluent north Tehranis with his motorcycle!

I don't know what will happen to Fatemeh khanoom's husband, but she is living proof that the very poor, that analysts claim make up Ahmadinejad's constituency, are as discontented with the regime as the middle class supporters of the opposition. Perhaps they share with the affluent classes, living in fancy apartments in North Tehran, a paralysis caused by not only the might of the hardliner's weapons but the free flow of their drugs.

First published on
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Niloufar, people like you make me...

by Nader on


It seems like your needle is always stuck to the groove. Keep going in circles until your battery runs out.

You are an opportunist, and everyone here on board is sensing it. Now, go play with your toys...


opportunist (and dishonest) niloufar

by AMIR1973 on

i am sick and tired of listening to expat lies about iran just because the middle class lost an election. we have no chance in hell of having any democracy in iran if we can't even cope with losing.

The Leader of IRI "won" an "election" in which 86 male Shia "experts" chose Him 21 years ago. The Leader of the country can NOT be popularly elected, by the "middle class", proletariat, toilers or anyone else. That's "democracy", IRI style.

Niloufar Parsi

opportunist nader

by Niloufar Parsi on

opportunist is one who manipulates people's emotions and distorts the truth. example: one guy in sepah dealing drugs does not make the sepah a drugs mafia. i also heard from other 'iranian' expats that 'everyone' says the sepah has a monopoly on the drugs market.

but nader what i have seen with my own eyes is the unbearable conditions that sepahis endure in the border regions fighting heavily armed and terribly ruthless smugglers. hundreds of sepahis and other security personnel die every year fighting to stop drugs coming into the country.

i am sick and tired of listening to expat lies about iran just because the middle class lost an election. we have no chance in hell of having any democracy in iran if we can't even cope with losing.

opportunism is indeed the problem. you got that right, but you forgot to look in the mirror. 


To amgw4 & Niloufar Parsi...

by Nader on

As "onlyiran" also rightfully mentioned, if you guys/gals do not find something that tickles your fancy, there is always Hezbollah site option!

What's a matter with you folks?

She wrote a truthful article that portrays the realities of today's Iran. Where have you folks been?

Sensationalism my foot!

Who says that she has to furnish you with factual evidence?

Are we in court?

Some of you folks are like hyenas waiting to feed on cadavers. Get a life for pet's sake!

Do you know the difference between you and Setareh?

When she writes something, thousands of people actually read them. So, until you are qualified enough to write as well as she does, put a lid on it!

I am sick and tired of opportunists like you…


Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

this is terrible. sensationalist style. full of insinuations without factual evidence. a politically motivated exploitation of the pain of others.


Devastating implosion in various directions

by Monda on

A sociologist friend reported the age of drug users in Iran decreasing by five - within the last decade! My first hit was: IRI's antidote to the existing potent young wave of Anti-Islamic fascism. And then I think about how all this severe drug abuse is related to the human rights and economic sufferings...

Over the years I have been hearing so many in similar situation as Fatemeh Khanoom's husband killed (if they're lucky) by bad chemicals sold on the streets, otherwise it's a lifelong intense psychotic features impacting not only them but everyone around them.  Very tragic... also the fact that the courts don't facilitate divorce in such cases either, further burn me inside.  I wonder if Fatemeh khanoom had the right to divorce without much financial and social grief, would she still carry the burden of her husband?


Thanks for the Great post Setareh Aziz.

by fooladi on

The social ills inflicted on Iranian nation, since islamic regime was imposed on us by CIA/MI5 joint operation, is astonishing.

Our society has become sick with the vile ideology (for want of a better word) of islamo fascism. The symptoms are right in front of our eyes. Iran is becoming a world leader in Drug taking, prostitution, social crimes. The criminal, islamist fascist mafia is getting richer and fatter, whilst the rest of the society is getting poorer every day. Whilst at the same time, the best and brightest of Iranian youth is shot in the street or raped and hanged by islamist kangaroo courts simply because they are asking peacefuly for their own and their compatriots basic social and human rights.

But of course, all above is not important, let us have a go at jews, so we are being told by islamist regime and their yapping tooleh sags on this site....


Alirezag, go fix your ammameh

by AMIR1973 on

There's freedom of speech in this country and IRI low-lifes don't get to tell others what to do. Okay, now go get your ass defeated by a bunch of Jews, as Islamists constantly do. What's an IRI Groupie doing living in the West, anyway?


Amir, can you stop stalking me?

by amgw4 on

Why do you keep trying to talk to me when I keep ignoring you? Get lost. Go relax and straighten up your yarmulke.


Drugs Are Everywhere...

by Javan on

Tell me one place there are no drugs?  

Why does the USA have a war on drugs?

Hello Columbia? Afghanistan? please...

People use more LSD and Marijuana at college parties in the USA than Iran ever will.   


West-residing IRI Groupies are worst propaganda money can buy

by AMIR1973 on

Just look at folks like alirezag (currently reincarnated as amgw4). IRI has the biggest opiate addiction in the world, and this guy still has "Jew on the Brain". And bear in mind that these are the "elite" IRI propagandists since they're the ones who actually speak some English and can translate the crap talk of Qom and Jamaran to a Western mindset. With employees like these, you can see why the IRI is such a leader in technological and economic advancement  (did you know that Angola's exports in 2009 exceeded those of the IRI--Angola, for ph*ck's sake)   :-)


Yeah, but you can go

by Onlyiran on

to the Hezbollah site where 100% of the articles are pro-IRI.  Why waste time here sifting through all the Israeli propaganda to get to ONE article, when you can just go to the site that I suggested to you where ALL the articles are to your liking?  

Again, your excuses are not convincing.  If you stay on, we will assume that you are part of "Operation Ajax II".   


I'm here for the rare Iranian article

by amgw4 on

Even though 90% of this website is very extreme and rabid AIPAC propaganda by about 10-20 domain hijacking Israelis, occasionally a naive Iranian who doesn't know what this site is will come on here and post something about Iran.




by Onlyiran on

if this an Israeli site and a site for anti-Iran propaganda, then what are YOU doing on it.  Here's a site suggestion for you.   Try it.  I'm sure you'll love it:


PS--If you continue to post here, we can only conclude one thing:  that you are a part of Israeli conspiracy and an agent for "Operation Ajax II". 



Yes, Iran is pro drug

by amgw4 on

I know this is a site for anti Iran propaganda, but what a ridiculous and nonsensical attempt. In Iran having only a few grams of drugs can get you the death penalty so the thesis is nonsensical. On top of that, this article attempts to blame Ahmadinejad for this woman's husband's drug addiction! Even assuming this story is true (it's probably not) that's absurd beyond words.