In what is supposed to be a man-bites-dog story, The New York Times reports that (as the headline puts it) "Iran (Yes, That Iran)" is "the West's Stalwart Ally in the War on Drugs." It's true! Drugs (including alcohol) are illegal in Iran, where dealers (including liquor sellers) are routinely executed. Toward the end of the story, which is mostly about brave Iranian narcs fighting heavily armed opium and heroin smugglers, the Times notes that the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, whose local representative "showered the Iranians with praise—'because they really deserve it,'" is "under pressure from Western activist groups like Human Rights Watch, which have expressed alarm over the sharp increase in hangings of convicted drug dealers." The Times adds that "hundreds have been executed in recent years, making Iran the second leading country in the world in death sentences, after China."
That's not the only way our stalwart Iranian allies go a little overboard. Here are some other things that are banned in Iran: blasphemy, romantic movie scenes, books deemed religiously offensive, Simpsons dolls, trendy hairstyles, coed squirt gun fights, dancing by kindergarteners, "improper" dresses, skiing by unchaperoned women, and female undergraduates studying English literature, computer science, or 75 other subjects. The determination to police people's bloodstreams and brains is not a way in which Iran is like the U.S. It is a way in which the U.S. is like Iran.