An Iranian worker self-immolated outside the Kermanshah Workers’ Syndicate in western Iran on November 18 in protest to his medical insurance being cut off and his inability to pay for his mother’s cancer treatment.
The 45-year-old worker was transferred to the hospital but died from a cardiac arrest due to the severity of his burns, the state-run Mehr News Agency said.
On November 20, the Head of the Kermanshah Social Security Organization, Iman Bious, said the man had come to the Kermanshah Construction Workers Association to ask for an extension of his medical insurance, but after arguing with the Association’s secretary, threatened to burn himself.
“The man had applied for a renewal of his medical insurance and for a membership extension as a construction worker, but they denied his request because he was wearing a mechanic’s uniform,” Bious said.
According to social media reports the man, who has not been identified by name, was protesting due to livelihood problems and his inability to fund his mother’s medical treatment. The reports said his mother was suffering from cancer.
Kermanshah province has one of the highest rates of unemployment within the impoverished provinces of Iran.
On October 31, a mine worker from northern Iran also self-immolated to protest being laid off. The 32-year-old worker from Ganjeh village was identified as Saber Behboudi, who sustained burns on 90% of his body. An informed source said the young man set himself on fire in protest to getting laid off from the Shabab Mine Company and 4 months of unemployment.
Sixty million Iranians live under the line of poverty due to the regime’s systematic lack of supervision over the economy, an Iranian economist said on September 20. Speaking to Tabnak, a website affiliated with the regime, Ibrahim Razaghi said “the most important threat to Iran was extreme poverty, widespread unemployment, the inability of many people to pay their rent, and that the rich were getting richer.”
“There are currently 30 million unemployed people and 60 million people live below the poverty line,” he said adding that the economic situation was “very bad.”
According to state-run media, more than 19 million Iranians live in 3,000 slums and make up the 20% of Iran’s urban population.