The Christian Science Monitor

Why Iranians, rattled by suicides, point a finger at leaders

First the wounded veteran, then the unpaid security guard, then the hungry child.

The powerful images of hopelessness came one after another, creating mounting waves of shock for Iranians who may have thought themselves inured to tales of desperation, destitution, and political angst.

Yet decades after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution seized power in the name of “social justice” for the poor and “oppressed,” and amid deepening economic collapse, Iran is battling a surge of suicides seen as a barometer of the ever-widening gap between the political leadership and society.

Accelerating a long-term trend, attempted suicides have leaped 23% in the past three months, marked by “chain suicides” and “more horrifying methods [carried out] before the public eye,” wrote sociologist Mohammad Reza Mahboubfar in the conservative Jahan-e Sanat newspaper.

Authorities say official statistics are only the “tip of the iceberg.” But calls to

“Message of revenge”Prevention planEroded safety nets

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