By Heshmat Alavi
Economic insecurity for physicians in Iran is an increasing problem in the Islamic Republic. After years of college and medical school, one would think that a physician would be considered a national asset, like in all other countries in the world.
Yet, in Iran, many medical professionals are forced to sell mobile phones or drive taxis part times to make ends meet — or leave the country in search of better opportunities abroad.
Fifty percent of Iran’s general physicians are either unemployed or not active in their field, the state-run Alef website reported, citing head of Iran’s General Physicians Association, Alireza Zali.
Living conditions for physicians have deteriorated to an extent that many medical school graduates are even resorting to jobs in construction, according to a report posted on the state-run Tabnak website, working on projects belonging to former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezaie.
“These physicians have very low incomes and live in poor conditions,” Zali said in a report by the official IRNA news agency. “Recently, the Health Ministry said the highest income some physicians are earning is around 18 million rials a month (around $465) … [even] after 20 years of experience there are physicians earning [only]12 million rials a month ($315).”
With half of Iran’s physicians out of work, many are forced to leave the country seeking better opportunities in Europe, Canada and the United States. This trend is increasing with each passing year.
Former Iranian health minister Iraj Faze says 1,980 physicians are departing Iran annually, adding such a trend will leave the country facing a serious shortage of physicians.
“Physicians working in state-run facilities have not received their [pay] … for the past year. As a result, we can’t blame the physicians from leaving a country where they lack social and economic guarantees,” Fazel said in an interview with Etelleat daily.
This issue has reached a point where Iran’s deputy chair of the parliamentary health commission also expressed concerns. “Unfortunately, poor job opportunities and adequate work for all branches of life are some of the country’s most important dilemmas. To this day no cabinet has been able to resolve such issues,” Mohammad Hossein Ghorbani said to Shafa Online.
When physicians in Iran under the mullahs’ rule are forced to leaving the country to seek better living and job conditions, rest assured other professionals – not to mention ordinary workers — are condemned to living a miserable life under extremely harsh conditions.
While physicians may enjoy the option of leaving the country, most of the poverty-stricken people of Iran are forced to endure the burden of extreme poverty as a result of the mullahs’ plundering the country’s increasing wealth.
Iran is a country that contains vast deposits of oil and natural gas. There should be no reason for such drastic poverty, as witnessed recently where the homeless in Iran have been forced to literally live in graves.
In urban areas, up to 55 percent of Iranians are living below the poverty level, while the mullah’s waste the country’s budget, which includes billions of dollars in unfrozen assets from the Iran nuclear deal. These dollars are being used by Tehran to pursue its Middle East expansion ambitions. Iran’s troops can be found in Syria and Iraq, and meddling in Yemen and Lebanon.
Tehran also continues its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions, as seen in two cases of heavy water production limit violations and numerous accounts of missile launches in violation of U.N. Resolution 2231, the latest which happened January 29 when a medium-range missile was test-fired.
In the past four decades, the Iranian regime has proven it seeks anything but the people’s interests.