On October 13, Iran’s society was shocked by the suicide of 11-year-old schoolchild Mohammad Mousavizadeh. Due to excessive poverty and his family’s dire living conditions, Mohammad’s parents could not provide a smartphone for him, dropping him out from the online curriculum of his school.

“We had a problem for two or three months. My son did not have a proper phone. The mobile phone he had was faulty. We did not have a good life. We were living in a rental home with an ailing husband. I have a few other children. Mohammad needed a mobile phone because the one we had did not work properly,” told Mohammad’s mother, Fatemeh, the ROKNA news agency affiliated to the Parliament (Majlis).

“He could not send audio or take photos with it. He did not say anything. His teacher asked him to send an audio file or send an image. We told his teacher what was going on. His teacher told him to go and tell (your problem to) your father, not me. This is our story,” she added.

20 Million Iranians Live in ‘Dark Zones’

The school principal tried to vindicate himself, claiming that he had “personally offered a smartphone to Mohammad in April.” Government-linked media also rejected poverty as a reason for this drama. However, these words do not change anything because numerous families cannot afford a tablet or a smartphone for their children.

“Online classes remain inaccessible to as many as 3 million of 14 million Iranian schoolchildren,” said Spokesperson of the Majlis Education Commission Ahmad Hossein Falahi. “Mohammad was a victim of educational discrimination,” wrote Javan daily, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on October 13.

Nonetheless, Mohammad is not the only instance of children’s suicide. “Mani, a 14-year-old student in Kermanshah, could not afford a cell phone because his family could not afford it. To earn money, he became a porter. He was pursued by regime agents, during which he fell down a mountain and died,” Hamshahri daily reported on September 14.

In April, another 11-year-old schoolchild, Zeinab, committed suicide due to her family’s poor condition in Ilam province, western Iran. She was reportedly ashamed of her worn-out clothing. “She was even deprived of a proper grave in the public cemetery,” said MP from Ilam jurisdiction.

A month later, a 12-year-old child, Armin, committed suicide in Kermanshah province, Ilam’s northern neighbor. A few weeks earlier, Armin’s mother had passed away from cancer. The hospital’s managers withheld her body because Armin’s poor family that made ends meet through garbage scavenger could not pay the bill. “There was not even a plate or spoon in their home,” said the head of a local charitable body.

Iran: We Are Eating Our Flesh and Blood

These tragedies are taking place while Iranian authorities spend the country’s national resources to expand their influence in other countries and to boost their oppressive capability against social movements. On September 21, speaking to state-run TV, IRGC deputy-commander Ali Fadavi revealed that Tehran had spent nearly $20 billion in neighboring countries.

Earlier in May, former chair of the Majlis Security and Foreign Affairs Commission Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh exposed that the government has spent $20-30 billion in Syria alone. Meanwhile, Iranian authorities blame U.S. sanctions for crippling the government’s ability to counter the novel coronavirus.

However, the fact that Iranian citizens suffer from a corrupt establishment that prioritizes its adventurous policies rather than providing essential supplies and hygienic items and equipment for citizens and even medical professionals.