Deaths from suicide have become commonplace in Iran, with one recent report by the state-run ROKNA News Agency stating that 84 people committed suicide in Tehran between April 15 and 16.
While suicide statistics are not routinely or accurately reported by the Ministry of Health, even the figures they do provide indicate that Iran has one of the worst rates in the world. In 2019, Iran had a suicide rate of 125 per 100,000. By comparison, the World Health Organization reported a suicide rate in Europe of 15.4 per 100,000 and in India of 16 per 100,000 for the same year.
The suicide rate shows just how bad things have got in Iran, with most attempts carried out by people under 30 and some aged just 11. In fact, children accounted for 20% of overall suicides in 2018.
And, of course, things have gotten worse throughout the pandemic with the state-run Etemad daily reporting 3,589 deaths from suicide in the period March-November 2020.
So, what are the causes for the high level of suicides?
- No hope for the future
- Mass unemployment and few job opportunities
- Widespread poverty
- No welfare system to aid the unemployed
- State violence from the laws in place that restrict their human rights to the abuses suffered by protesters
- Discrimination by regime elites
The economic problems are down to the regime’s corruption and mismanagement, which resulted in a devalued national currency and basic goods being unaffordable. This has led small and medium-sized businesses to go bankrupt, which led to massive non-payment of wages and worker layoffs. In turn, some 80% of the population lives under the poverty line and the pressures are reducing their tolerance.
Social science researchers reported that Iran’s suicide rate jumped 60% from 2015 to 2019, even if the director of the Suicide Prevention Program at the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Office, Maryam Abbasinejad, says that in 2018 only 100,000 suicide attempts were registered. Experts believe that the official figures barely scratch the surface.
Iranians are also protesting against the unfair system that has driven so many to suicide, coming out to the streets to say that the regime is responsible for the woes of the people. In the last major uprising of November 2019, the regime shot dead 1,500 people; many at point-blank range.
With the pressures on Iranians mounting, it cannot be that long until protests begin in earnest again and the regime is swept from power.