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Suicide rate highest among Ahwazi Arabs and Kurds

Faced with poverty, discrimination and cultural dislocation, Ahwazi Arabs and Kurds lead Iran only in suicide, according to latest statistics.

Tehran University sociologist Dr Saeed Moeed Far claims that the highest rates of suicide are in less developed areas such as the Arab-majority Khuzestan province and the Kurdish-majority Ilam province, particularly among women and young men due to the social and economic crisis in these areas. The benefits of industrialisation have largely excluded Ahwazi Arabs when it comes to employment and housing, while they continue to endure the negative health and environmental effects.

Statistics from Iran's Ministry of Health show that in deprived areas around 13 people take their lives every day with the average age at 29 years. Men outnumber women by 2.5-4.5 to one. Over a 20 year period, the suicide rate has increased 360 per cent. According to a police report for Ilam, the annual rate of suicides was 70.1 per 100,000 people, the highest in the country.

Hanging is the cause of most suicides, but self-immolation, drug overdose and poisoning are increasingly common.