Why desperation rises in Iran?


This mobile phone footage shows a young woman in Iran sorting through garbage at the roadside and collecting recyclable waste products like plastic before loading it onto a handcart in order to sell it for a pittance.

The young man who filmed her is heard saying, “This also shows the situation in our country [Iran], a young woman whose collecting recyclable waste. Is this fair?”

As poverty and unemployment continue to rise in Iran, the Interior Minister Abdulraza Rahmani Fazli revealed in October that the unemployment level in some Iranian cities has now reached 60 percent, a shocking statistic unprecedented since the period before the 1979 “Iranian revolution”, according to some news websites in the country.

The figures were revealed in the minister’s annual report on the ‘social damage’ resulting from unemployment, copies of which were submitted to the Supreme Leader Khamenei, along with the Speaker of Parliament, and senior figures in the government and the judiciary.

Speaking at a press conference held on Sunday, October 1, Fazli said that Iranian cities with high unemployment rates also often have high levels of “addiction, marginalization, and divorce” as a result.

The interior minister added that the current average unemployment rate in Iran exceeds 12 percent while the percentage of unemployed in some cities, including those in the Kurdish province of Kermanshah, the Arab Ahwaz region and the Balochi region of Baluchistan, exceeds 60 percent.

Iranian state news agencies last year published damning details of the last report by the interior minister, reporting that 11 million Iranians (from a total population of just over 80 million) were living in marginalized areas, while the total number of registered drug addicts exceeded 1.5 million, and the official number of prisoners incarcerated in the country’s jails was over 600,000. The agencies noted that these figures are catastrophic for a country which exports more than 4.5 million barrels of oil daily.

Iranian political activists and human rights campaigners have accused the government of allocating a large proportion of the country’s oil revenues to support its sectarian militias in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen even while Iranian society suffers from major and increasingly severe economic and social problems.

The interior minister’s latest report revealed that the rate of unemployment among university graduates is extremely high, without going into greater details, although some Iranian websites have reported that more than 21 percent of graduates with Bachelor’s degrees and 15 percent of those with Masters degrees and doctorates are registered as unemployed, with many seeing no way to resolve their problems but to seek work overseas in order to avoid poverty.

The figures for female unemployment, both among graduates and non-graduates are even worse than those for their male counterparts, with Iranian women facing high levels of discrimination. Recent months have seen a tragic and shocking number of suicides among young Iranian women due to the worsening poverty and unemployment in the country.