On August 2, the Etemad daily reported that “288 people committed suicide” in Iran within the last Persian Calendar year. “One lost his life every 16 days,” the daily added. It now appears that this trend has increased in the past few months due to the deteriorating financial situation in the country.
Rampant inflation has significantly shrunk Iranian families’ food baskets. On August 7, the head of the Fruit and Vegetable Union said, “The people’s fruit purchases have decreased by 60 percent in the past ten days.” While the semiofficial ILNA news agency reported, “Working families’ annual red meat consumption per capita has dropped below 3 kg.”
Iranian Protests with Their Lives
Indeed, the people of Iran have nothing to use to vent their anger over the Iranian regime’s mismanagement and failure but their lives. In 2019, the head of the Health Ministry’s counter-suicide program acknowledged that around 100,000 people had committed suicide in 2018. According to this official, the suicide rate then increased from 94 to 125 per 100,000 people within three years.
In early 2021, a forensic official revealed that the suicide rate had risen 4.2 percent between April and October 2020 compared to 2019. In September 2021, the counter-suicide association then declared the death rate had increased from 6 to 7.2 persons per 100,000 people during the past decade.
Aside from other vital factors, including the growth of unemployment, the decline in families’ revenue, the decrease in purchasing power, the dwindling of social capital, the disturbance of public trust, and constant socio-political turmoil, at least 288 women and men have committed suicide across the country, based on previous stats.
The reality of the situation is even worse because many attempts do not cause immediate death. For instance, those who use poison tablets, jump from buildings, hang, or shoot at themselves will likely lose their lives at the moment, but few do survive.
Among all suicide methods, self-immolation is the most painful way. Psychologists and behavioral sciences specialists describe self-immolation as a social protest. A protest against the entire ruling system has led the person to absolute disappointment about the future and dashed their hopes of a better and decent life.
Notably, demographic information has revealed that 27 percent of suicide cases in Iran are via self-immolation. Seventy-one percent of victims are female, and the mean age is 29. On this matter, the state-run Etemad daily wrote, “Many officials should be to account for Iranian women and men’s self-immolation, whether before their conscience or before the nation!”
Eight Workers Self-Immolate in 70 Days
In the past 70 days, eight workers have self-immolated following either dismissal from their job, unclear job contracts, or disability in affording ordinary expenses. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of workers, retirees, teachers, and other breadwinners have continued protests for their overdue salaries. This is while their wages have yet to be adjusted according to the skyrocketing inflation rate.
On May 22, one of the contract workers of the Golestan tobacco factory in Gorgan city, northern the country, was found having self-immolated outside the factory office. The provincial emergency chief declared the victim was a 50-year-old man who suffered from 60 percent burns.
According to his colleagues, he had 20 years of job experience working as a trucker. Following an accident inside the factory site, he was summoned by the disciplinary committee and punished. The managing board transferred him to another sector. This impoverished worker poured gas on himself and burnt himself, protesting the managers’ humiliating behavior.
On May 23, one of the Water & Sewage Organization staff in Qal’e Raisi city, the southwestern province of Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmad, also self-immolated. The local mayor stated, “The victim was a 40-year-old employee and had four children. He committed suicide to protest the organization’s refusal to pay their overdue salaries and clarify their job contracts.”
Health officials transferred the victim to hospitals in Dehdasht and Shiraz cities. Unfortunately, he died due to the severity of the burn two days later.
On May 28, one of the Department of Industry, Mine, and Trade clients in Bam city, the southeastern province of Kerman, self-immolated at the department CEO’s office. The CEO said, “The victim was a construction equipment repairer. He had a private plaintiff and was supposed to be referred to the local punishment office. He had protested the court’s ruling and fulfilled his threat with self-immolation following the verdict.” The victim was transferred to a local hospital with a 45 percent burn.
On June 4, a worker self-immolated in Yasuj in Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmad province due to failure to pay a 100-million-rial [$322] debt. The married, father of three also died due to the severity of his burns.
On June 9, two employees of the Farabi Petrochemical plant in Mahshahr in the southwestern province of Khuzestan self-immolated to protest dismissal. State-backed employers have fired many experienced workers to decrease their expenses. Both victims had three years of job experience at the site under their belt.
On July 30, a 30-year-old worker self-immolated at Hani-van city in the western province of Ilam due to living dilemmas, while a day later, a contract worker of Lahijan’s Water & Sewage Organization in the northern province of Gilan self-immolated outside the organization. He had already been suspended, and officials refused to answer his demands. The CEO of the organization stated, “The victim was a contour writing employee and had been suspended by his employers two months earlier.”