Another child committed suicide in Iran, due to poverty and not having a smartphone to participate in online classes.
The news of a young girl committing suicide for not having a smartphone circulated in the social media on October 20, 2020. Parastoo Jalili Azar, 13, lived in Talatappeh village near Urmia, capital of the W. Azerbaijan Province, northwestern Iran.
Her poor family did not afford to buy her a smartphone to continue her studies after the coronavirus outbreak when she had to go online to attend classes.
Parastu Jalili Azar is not the first victim of poverty who committed suicide in the past month.
Mohammad Mousavizadeh, an 11-year-old student, hanged himself in the in southwestern city of Bushehr on October 10, because he did not have a smartphine to participate in online classes.
Moussavi’s mother initially said her son’s school did not give Mohammad a smartphone despite their promises. The incident caused national outrage and the grieving mother later retracted her remarks, seemingly from pressure by the regime, and said the school had supported and helped Mohammad.
The state-run news agency Rokna quoted Mohammad’s mother as saying, “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. 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.”
There have been more recent examples of children committing suicide out of poverty: Rojan, 14, in Sanandaj; a 17-year-old girl in Abadan committed suicide in September 2020. Also in October, Asal, 16, in Robat-Karim; Zahra, 16, in Kangan of Bushehr; Morteza, 10, in Ilam; and Mobina, 11 in Tehran took their own lives.
These are but few examples of the depth of the humanitarian catastrophe created under the mullahs’ rule in Iran.
Children dropping out of school due to poverty
These unfortunate instances come at a time when, despite initial claims by the clerical regime that it will address requirements for online education for free, including providing smartphones and free internet for students, government officials are predicting a probability of 36% of boys dropping out of school due to poverty and inability to provide mobile phones or tablets, particularly in the rural areas. The state-run daily Javan quoted on September 1, 2020, the Director-General of Education for Kerman Province as saying, “More than 240,000 students in Kerman Province do not have smartphones.”
Increase in child’s suicides due to poverty
There has been an increase in suicides among children and teenagers in Iran.
“This is not the first time that poverty has driven the children of a rich country like Iran to take their own lives and committing suicide,” wrote the state-run Hamdeli newspaper, on October 13, 2020. Hamdeli continued, “The eleven-year-old Zeinab hanged herself in Ilam in March because she did not have new clothes for the New Year. Her last wish was to buy a set of new clothes for Nowruz. In June, Armin, 11, who lived in Kermanshah’s Jafarabad district took his own life by taking pills due to hunger and poverty.”
The head of the Scientific Association of Iran’s Social Work said today that the reason behind the increase was that the “community was erupting from pressure”.
Mostafa Eghlima told Iran’s Faraz website that these suicides could not be prevented until the reasons behind them, including poverty, unemployment and high prices, were eradicated.
“If these child suicides took place in another country, the governor or mayor of that city would have resigned. Because they would be the ones behind unemployment, poverty, and social calamities,” the university professor added.
He also said that suicide by hanging was the most prevalent form of suicide in Iran and implied that children learned if from the regime’s public executions.
“Despite these incidents, public executions are still showcased. That is not done in any other part of the world. Children are not born thieves and murderers and they do not commit suicide. These children have been brought up by the community and if someone is to be condemned, it should be the governor or the President,” he added.
Due to a record low of the country’s currency and economic problems in Iran, the poverty line for a family of four has increased to 10 million tomans (around $314). This has left more than 60 million Iranians in poverty while 50% of the population live in abject poverty. With the sharp increase in the price of electronics, only a limited number of students can afford smartphones or tablets for online classes.