ISSN 2330-717X

Iran Suicides On The Rise As Millions Fall Into Poverty – OpEd

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Reports of daily suicides in Iran have almost become commonplace.  According to a recent report carried by the state-run ROKNA News Agency, from April 15 to 16, a total of 84 people committed suicide in Tehran alone.

These statistics show how fed-up Iranians are with their lives and Iran’s collapsing economy.

Of course, suicide statistics in Iran are not provided regularly and accurately. However, statistics from Iran’s Ministry of Health show that Iran is one of the countries that suffers the most from this problem.

According to these figures published by the Ministry in 2019, out of every 100,000 Iranians, 125 people commit suicide, a very high number compared to worldwide figures.

In a 2019 report, the World Health Organization said less than 15.4 per 100,000 people in Europe commit suicide. Even the suicide rate in India, which is suffering from extreme poverty is 16 per 100,000 people.

Reports of suicide attempts in Iranian media demonstrates that most people who attempted suicide were young people under 30 years old, and among them were children aged between 11 and 12. In 2018, the number of juvenile suicides in Iran accounted for 20% of the suicide rate.

According to the state-run Etemad daily, from March to November 2020, a total of 3,589 men and women died from suicide.

The most common methods of suicide in Iran, especially among young women, are hangings, jumping off buildings and pedestrian bridges, and self-immolation. In the past month alone, 13 young women and girls committed suicide in Kurdish provinces in western Iran.

One of the main causes of suicide among young people and adolescents is the absence of hope for the future, economic hardships, and social issues. Some of the reasons Iranians commit suicide are as follows:  

  • Millions of young people have no hope of finding a job.
  • They do not have minimum welfare and security in the face of economic hardship.
  •  Being exposed to social violence due to the lack of freedom, repression and repressive laws against women and restrictions that double the already existing social and cultural pressures.
  • Inequality and discrimination against ordinary Iranians by regime elites.

Widespread poverty and unemployment are another reason for the high suicide rates in Iran. This is the direct result of systematic multibillion-dollar financial corruption in the structures of government institutions, the low value of Iran’s national currency and the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, as well as rising housing and rent prices. Many small and medium-sized industries and workshops have gone bankrupt which has led to large-scale layoffs and the inability of factories to pay the salaries of workers.

As a result, Iran’s middle class has virtually disappeared with nearly 80% of the population living below the line of poverty. Many items such as meat and fruit have long been removed from people’s diets.

These factors have significantly reduced public tolerance and suicide has become a method of protesting the status quo.  For example, last year, several children and teenagers committed suicide because their families were unable to provide tablets or smartphones for them for online classes.

Maryam Abbasinejad, the director of the Suicide Prevention Program at the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Office said 100,000 suicide attempts were registered in 2018 in Iran. However, many experts say official suicide statistics are only the tip of the iceberg.

According to a report by social science researchers, from 2015 to 2019, Iran’s suicide rate has increased by 60% meaning.

But suicides are not the only way Iranians show they are fed up with the status quo. During the past years, Iranians have taken to the streets across the country to show their anger towards the regime they hold responsible for all their hardships.  

In the most recent protests in November 2019, the regime responded by gunning down 1,500 men women and children.

These protests indicate that the current situation will not hold up much longer and since conditions have gotten worse than before, more protests in the future are imminent; Protests that might get rid of the theocracy once and for all. 

Cyrus Yaqubi

Cyrus Yaqubi

Cyrus Yaqubi is a Research Analyst and Iranian Foreign Affairs Commentator investigating the economy of the middle east countries that are relying on the oil revenue and comparing their progress to their ruling system, specially covering a variety of topics about Iran.

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