One in two young Iranians are ready to leave the country for good

Khamenei called the emigration phenomenon a “case of betrayal and hostility towards the country.”

By World Israel News staff

Just over 33% of Iranians want to emigrate from Iran, Keyou Polling Agency found in a survey conducted earlier this year, nearly one in two (43%) are under thirty.

The poll, published on January 15th, was translated and presented in Hebrew by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA).

Some 80% of the total polled said this is due to economic reasons such as unemployment, the economic status of the rial, and high housing costs. Surprisingly, only 7% said they would like to leave due to lack of political freedom, and 6% mentioned lack of education. However, 22% mentioned “cultural issues” as one of their reasons for wanting to emigrate.

Despite only 6% listing education as a reason for leaving the country, close to half of those polled have an academic degree, an issue which Iran has been dealing with Iran has been dealing with for many years, according to JCPA. Some 80% of students leave Iran immediately after graduating.

The brain drain phenomenon has only increased amid the coronavirus pandemic and sanctions tightened during the Trump administration. Moreover, despite the pandemic, the academics leaving are namely nurses, doctors, and other medical staff. One in one hundred nurses leave the country a month according to Hamid Azizi, head of the Supreme Council of Nurses.

Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei addressed the brain drain, making promises to encourage students to return to the country, yet ultimately calling the phenomenon a “case of betrayal and hostility towards the country.”

In a similar poll conducted five years ago, only 29% of Iranians expressed a desire to leave Iran. It seems that in light of the sanctions imposed on the state during the Trump administration, the number of citizens – especially young people – who aspire to leave has increased.

Meanwhile, compared to the rest of the Middle East and Africa, only 24% are interested in emigrating from their home country, some 10% less than those in Iran.

According to the JCPA, between 6 and 10 million Iranians have left their country since the establishment of the Islamic regime 43 years ago, and between 150-180 thousand people leave Iran a year.

The Iranian website Asar-Iran wrote that those who do not think about immigration are those with no means, and do not see it as a feasible possibility in their future.