The Islamic republic struck another blow today against Western decadence.
Possibly inspired by the recent dumping of liquor at the Iranian Embassy in Washington, armed Islamic militia men destroyed alcoholic beverage supplies at the Tehran Intercontinental Hotel, home for most of Iran's visiting correspondents.
The destruction culminated a protracted haggle involving the hotel management, its staff and local revolutionary committees over what was to become of the huge stock of liquor and wine that has been gathering dust in storerooms beneath the hotel since Ayatollan Ruhollan Khomeini took over and declared alcolhol "haram," or forbidden, in his Islamic republic.
Militiamen from a local committee finally won. They arrived at the hotel this evening, demanded access to the storage area and began popping open thousands of cans of imported beer and pitching them off a loading ramp into a service driveway at the rear of the building.
Fountains of ale spurted into the air as the six-packs, mostly a Dutch brew called Starbrau, hit the pile.
The new manager of the hotel, Hartwig Schnuppe, said the militia-men were "very polite" when they arrived.
"That's our order and that's how it is," he quoted them as saying when they told him they had come to destroy the alcoholic beverage stocks, including liquor and some fine French wines in addition to the beer.
He estimated the value of the stock at $325,000. Other hotel staffers said it was worth far more at current retail prices.
Not everyone present approved of the dumping. "All Iran is stupid," said an Iranian chef in broken English as the militiamen systematically disposed of hundreds of cases of beer. "This is a very bad, very stupid."
The next thing to go, some residents fear, may be mixed bathing in the pool immediately behind the hotel. Fundamentalist staffers got upset last month when Air France stewardesses took to sunbathing in their bikinis. CAPTION: Picture, Iranians protest Monday against Iraqi jets' attack on Kurdish villages in Iran. AP