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Poverty Claims Another Child Laborer’s Life in Iran

On February 1, Iranian citizens were shocked by the suicide of 14-year-old Mohammad in Mahshahr city due to poverty and misery.
On February 1, Iranian citizens were shocked by the suicide of 14-year-old Mohammad in Mahshahr city due to poverty and misery.

This article is part of “Children Suicide in Iran,” a series that sheds light on a tragic aspect of rampant poverty and misery that many Iranian families struggle with.

On Monday, February 1, Iran’s society was taken aback by another child suicide in the city of Mahshahr in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. Fourteen-year-old Mohammad is the latest instance of this horrible phenomenon in Iran.

According to reports, poverty and disappointment led this impoverished teenager to commit suicide in his home. In this respect, Mohammad ended his short and painful life to finish his suffering. Monday morning, his family found Mohammad’s lifeless body, and the news immediately spread across the country.

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“Before the coronavirus outbreak, Mohammad was transferring and selling potable water with a tricycle to cover his old parents’ expenditures. He had received the tricycle from his relatives,” Mohammad’s friend said.

“I had to cover a family of eight, and Mohammad was helping me. But he did not have a permanent job. Some days, we found a job and some days we had no job and had to run our life with 300,000 rials [$1.20], which we had earned in the days before,” Mohammad’s father said, adding, “Mohammad’s mother found him in the backyard. Just God knows what happened. We know nothing, but we have lost our child.”

Besides street peddling, Mohammad was also a ball boy for Mahshahr city’s soccer team. He covered parts of his family’s costs through different careers.

After the beginning of the pandemic in Iran, citizens avoided purchasing water from vendors due to health threats. Therefore, Mohammad and many water-sellers lost their income resource. In this context, the 14-year-old breadwinner faced enormous dilemmas.

“Due to his family’s severe poverty, Mohammad was compelled to leave education. He had to cover his old parents’ expenditures and had not been able to continue his education and pay its required expense simultaneously,” his friend said.

Mohammad was living in a poor area in Mahshahr’s old district. Many soccer players who had closely known Mohammad admired him for his efforts to cover his family’s necessities despite all the hardships.

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“Mohammad had urged athletes to pay him 50,000 rials [$0.20] to purchase a pen and a book several times before he dropped out of education,” a soccer player said.

With Mohammad’s heartbreaking suicide, the number of child and teenager suicide in the cities of Dezful, Mahshahr, and Kermanshah reached six cases in recent weeks. Notably, child suicide accounts for seven percent of the total number of Iran’s suicide statistics.

Recently, the people deterred a young woman from suicide in Tehran’s Robat Karim district. The woman had intended to end her life by jumping from an urban bridge. However, a passenger stopped her at the last moment.

Given the rampant poverty and families’ dire conditions, suicide cases in Iran have dramatically soared in recent years. According to the state-run Arman daily, 90 percent of Iranian families face intolerable economic dilemmas.

On the other hand, while the poverty line has reached 100 million rials [$400] per month, many workers and employees earn around $100 and even lower. The regime lays the blame on foreign pressure while generously granting national assets to extremist groups in the Middle East or funding nuclear and ballistic missile projects.

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