The 1979 Islamic Revolution set out to mitigate socioeconomic problems, among other things, yet 36 years later it seems that Iran’s leaders have yet to make true on their promise.Growing hardships are alienating the younger generation from the core beliefs of the regime and driving social processes that pose a significant challenge to the Islamic Republic and to the values of the Revolution.
“Having no money or work has ruined our lives”, she wrote.
The young woman added that she had been accepted for graduate studies in a top Tehran university, but could not afford the bus fare to attend classes three days a week. Student loans won’t help much, plus I haven’t received them yet. Will I or my talented partner ever be hired in the nuclear program?
In October 2013, a young Iranian woman anonymously responded to a Facebook post by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in which the minister described his impressions of a recent round of nuclear talks in Geneva.
The woman, 26, detailed her daily hardships: she has been engaged for three years but cannot marry her fiancé, an unemployed doctoral student, due to financial difficulty.
The reasons for Iran’s marriage crisis run deeper than the economy: they are also tied to growing exposure to Western values, primarily through new media and social networks.
The regime’s failure to raise the birth rate in recent years attests to the limits of its power over its citizens, and especially the younger ones.
In a 2012 survey conducted among some 1,000 Iranians between the ages of 16 and 25, respondents were asked to name the two major challenges that Iran was facing.
Forty-one percent replied unemployment, 28% noted economic issues in general, 19% said inflation, 8% stated the cost of living, 7% replied drug abuse, and 5% were concerned with other matters. The high population growth rate until the 1990s and the economic recession led to a decline in jobs available for young adults entering the workforce every year.
Although the birth rate dropped sharply since 1989, reaching 1.27% in 2012, the “baby boom” of the early 1980s meant that millions of citizens born were now entering the job market.