An Iranian war veteran self-immolated this morning for not getting his requested loan from the Foundation of Martyrs & Veterans Affairs in western Iran.
Local media identified the man as Jahangir Azadi Miankouhi. Reports indicate that he is in critical condition with 88% surface area burns in Khomeini Hospital in Kermanshah. Doctors at the hospital said he would not survive.
A local website that reported he had died later removed the report from its website.
State-run media said the Foundation of Martyrs & Veterans Affairs in Kermanshah had stopped paying Miankouhi’s wages for the past few months because he could not pay his debts. The Foundation had also refused to give him a loan.
The report said that Miankouhi went to the Foundation every day for the past two weeks to convince the Foundation to give him the loan.
But Hadi Asgari, the head of Kermanshah’s Foundation of Martyrs & Veterans Affairs claimed that the foundation had agreed with the load.
He told state-run media that Miankouhi had “family-related issues”. This is while the war veteran self-immolated across the street from the Foundation as a sign of protest.
The many Foundations or Bonyads of the Islamic Republic of Iran are affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and are rife with corruption. These Bonyads, which are under the control of the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, are also exempt from taxes and refuse to be held accountable for their spending practices.
Kermanshah has one of the highest suicide rates in Iran. Iran’s western provinces suffer from a very high rate of unemployment and poverty, which would account for the high rates of suicides in that region.
In September 2019, an Iranian official in charge of the suicide prevention program at the Ministry of Health said that Iran’s suicide rate had increased with around 100,000 cases between March 21, 2018 to March 21, 2019.
According to the state-run Khabar Online website, “suicide rates in Iran are increasing in an astonishing way.”
“From 2011 to 2015, suicide rates increased 66% amongst women and 71% amongst men”, Khabar online wrote.
“For years now, the media have not been given stats when it comes to suicide rates as relevant organizations refuse to publish them,” the website added.