No further official information has been published in days on an apparent mass alcohol poisoning in the port city of Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan province, amid unofficial reports that the number of cases and deaths continues to climb.
On Monday news that eight people in Bandar Abbas had died after drinking tainted homemade alcohol made international headlines.
Another 51 were being treated in hospital, of whom at least 30 had undergone dialysis. A spokesman for Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences said 17 patients had been admitted to the ICU.
The state-run ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday that updates on the situation had been "suspended since Monday evening... while reports from hospital sources indicate the increasing trend of referrals to medical centers has continued."
By noon on Tuesday, ISNA reported, at least two more people were understood to have died.
On Monday, the chief of police in Bandar Abbas had announced that eight people distributing alcohol had been identified and arrested. Police also confiscated some 1,278 liters of alcohol found in their homes.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution the sale and import of alcoholic beverages has been banned in Iran, and the production, sale and consumption of alcohol criminalized. Just last year, a Tehran prosecutor petitioned for a middle-aged drinker to be sentenced to death.
Despite the high stakes, a survey by Iran Open Data last year found half of all adults in Iran regularly drink alcohol, and a quarter opted for moonshine and homemade beverages when they did. Last June, 19 people in Hormozgan were poisoned and one died after drinking counterfeit alcohol.