November 16, 2017
The incidence of suicide in is turning into a national disaster and a real crisis in Iran. As highlighted by media reports and comments by state officials, the rate has recently escalated, especially among women and youth. In fact, some state officials refer to it as an epidemic.
The Iranian people face poverty, oppression, discrimination, and inequality, pushing the rate of suicide attempts among women to rise to 66 percent over the past five years, and 71 percent among men over the same period, according to state media. These figures show that suicide among women has increased over the past decade, as well.
State-run ILNA news agency, on October 27, 2017 reported that a regime expert, Amir-Mahmoud Harirchi, believes that youth and women look at attempted suicide as a way to protest against the current situation. Harirchi also acknowledged that there are many contradictions in society, which leads to a social identity crisis. He emphasized the restrictions that the regime applies to women, saying, “unfortunately our women and girls are not allowed to enter stadiums or ride a bike. We’re constantly creating more restrictions for them. That’s despite the fact that women today are aware of their rights and know that they (should) have equal rights to men. Why don’t we allow families to enter stadiums?” Harirchi continued, “unfortunately we’ve created conditions that have caused girls to be more vulnerable. Rules, regulations, and social norms have all hurt young people. Happiness is not recognized in our society, which is even more true with regard to girls. Unfortunately, we equate happiness to promiscuity.” He added, “suicide is turning feminine.”
State-run Ana news agency reported on October 27, 2017 that another state expert, Nemat Ahmadi, referred to the cause of increase in suicides among youth and students as, “inefficient administrative system, feeling hopeless about future, disproportion between income and expenditures, depression, and unemployment are the main reasons why students attempt suicide.”
The director of Welfare Organization’s Performance Management Office, Mousavi Chalak, calls out critical social conditions as the reason people turn to suicide. He said, “our society’s characteristics in this regard are not promising. Our country suffers a low level of social satisfaction, liveliness, and trust. Sadness and large number of mental disorders in a society shows that there’s a lack of social liveliness. Under such conditions, it’s no surprise that we’re having social harms, and suicide is one of them.”
Iran’s widespread poverty, the large gap between the rich and poor, the lack of social interaction and trust, and a high degree of depression all increase the probability of suicide among its people. The increasing suicide rate has become a humanitarian crisis across the country, to the point that regime officials refer to it as ‘the tsunami of suicide’.
On July 25, 2017, state-run Mehr news agency blamed such factors as poverty and unemployment for causing the increased suicide rate, writing “no doubt the economic problems of our society today have largely affected people’s social behavior.”
Many believe that there is a censure policy, and the true figures regarding the increase in suicide rate have not been released. However, even if the figures released by state media were manipulated, they still point to a catastrophic social crisis caused by Iran’s economic disaster, and social restrictions and oppression.