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Why Do Iranian Physicians Emigrate?

According to the Iranian Medical Council, at least 3,000 physicians emigrated to Europe or the U.S. in ten months, posing a risk and causing shortages in public health delivery. 
According to the Iranian Medical Council, at least 3,000 physicians emigrated to Europe or the U.S. in ten months, posing a risk and causing shortages in public health delivery. 

On January 9, 2021, the Iranian regime’s Medical Council declared, “During ten months since the outbreak of the coronavirus, more than 200 physicians became martyrs. It’s painful; however, more painful is that perhaps more than 3,000 physicians emigrated in these ten months.

Many experts have realized that the regime does not care about the Iranian people’s dire living conditions and deteriorating economic situation. Iranian physicians are therefore willing to travel and live where they are able to work freely and make a better life for themselves and their families. In this respect, it is worth reviewing the cost of training for one physician in Iran.

Iran Loses at Least $600 Million due to Physicians’ Emigration

On December 26, 2021, the Tejarat News website revealed that according to emigration statistics, a quarter of Iranian physicians chose to emigrate to Europe and the United States. It said, “Regarding the economic aspect, officials announced that the cost of training a single general physician was around seven billion rials [$200,000].”

Regardless of the significant devaluation of Iran’s national currency Rial, against the U.S. dollar, the emigration of 3,000 physicians means losing at least $600 million. In other words, the people of Iran lost $60 million each month during this 10-month period due to the physicians’ financial dilemmas and the failure of regime officials to address their problems.

The number of people suffering from this heartbreaking loss is staggering. This ten-month period was only the tip of the iceberg, and the brain drain has continued to escalate.

Low Salaries, One of the Primary Reasons for Iranian Physicians’ Emigration

Speaking on a TV program aired by the state-run TV Channel Two, an expert stated, “Today, it is almost impossible for medical grads to hold their clinics or work in the private sector.” As a result, many Iranian medical grads often remain unemployed for years.

At a press conference on December 6, 2021, the head of the regime’s Medical Council, Mohammad Raiszadeh, said, “We have a pediatrician who lives on a $250 monthly salary, and an emergency expert in Bandar Lengeh [in the southern province of Hormozgan] receives 100 million rials for 12 shifts per month.”

“Some GPs live below the poverty line, and some experts work in border areas with meager salaries. Our residents have utterly lost their hope for the future,” Raiszadeh added. “Some ophthalmology residents came to my office. One of them said, ‘I receive $133 per month and one of my friends, an ophthalmologist, receives merely $540 every month.”

In response, thousands of medical grads and staff have resorted to organizing street protests outside the Health and Medical Education Ministry buildings in various provinces, voicing their outrage against the officials’ indifference toward their plight. In a rally on January 29, medical grads chanted, “We are the loneliest profession; we are frustrated by hollow promises.”

High Rate of Suicide Attempts Among Iranian Physicians

In an interview with the Mehr News Agency on July 11, 2021, Dr. Iraj Khosronia, the President of Iran’s Specialist Physicians Society, expressed his concerns over his colleagues’ dilemmas. He said, “I urge officials to think about young physicians and low-income educated groups. Fifty percent of Physicians’ Society suffer from financial difficulties, and 87 members of our society committed suicide in the last year.”

Government Left Iranian Physicians Vulnerable to Coronavirus

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Iranian regime left hundreds of thousands of physicians defenseless. In a report by the Iranian opposition TV channel Simay-e Azadi, it was revealed that “At least 2,300 physicians and medical staff contracted Covid-19, and more than 130 of them lost their lives to the disease until April 27, 2020,” and “This figure has undoubtedly increased in the past two years.”

The Mullahs Intervene Medical Issues

On the other hand, the mullahs’ interference with medical issues has rubbed salt into the physicians’ wounds. The regime covertly supports the mullahs and seminaries applying their influence on the medical system under false pretenses.

In a shocking move, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei prohibited importing credible Covid-19 vaccines on January 8, 2021, resulting in hundreds of thousands of preventable casualties. At the time, Khamenei delivered televised remarks and announced his decision, stating “The import of U.S. and British vaccines is forbidden. I have said this to the officials, and now I am saying it publicly.”

Following Khamenei’s vaccine ban, his loyalist mullahs began to justify this criminal ruling with hollow claims. “Do not get close to those who received vaccines because they have microchips; their genes have changed, and they behave like controlled bots. They have lost the genes of faith, ethics, and decency,” posted ‘Ayatollah Tabrizi’ on his telegram channel.

Iranian Physicians Continue Protests

Protesting such miserable situations, physicians, nurses, and healthcare staff has routinely rallied outside medical campuses, demanding that regime officials increase their salaries and improve their living conditions. However, they have yet to have their demands met, and in some cases, security forces have ruthlessly dispersed their peaceful gatherings.

It is the theocratic regime in Iran that is pushing intellectuals, particularly physicians and experts, to flee their homeland. In such circumstances, the emigration of 3,000 physicians in ten months is only the tip of the iceberg, and it poses severe risks to citizens’ health and lives.