Images showing homeless living in graves spark anger in Iran

Published December 29th, 2016 - 08:45 GMT
President Hassan Rouhani responded by calling for unity to solve Iran's problems (Wikimedia Commons)
President Hassan Rouhani responded by calling for unity to solve Iran's problems (Wikimedia Commons)

Iranians have expressed their anger after a newspaper published images of homeless people living in graves.

In the striking photographs, around fifty poverty-stricken Iranians, many of them apparently drug-addicts, can be seen making their homes in the graves at Shahriar cemetery, west of Tehran.

The pictures quickly spread across social media after national paper Shahrvand broke the story on Tuesday.

Many in the country, including public figures, have responded by criticizing the government for allowing Iranians to live in such poverty.

Oscar-winning film director Asghar Farhadi has written to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggesting that his “entire being is filled with shame and sorrow” after reading the story, according to Alarabiya.

Rouhani responded by saying: “Who can see human beings hurt from social issues who take shelter in graves.... and not feel ashamed?”

“To solve these issues we must all unite and leave aside partisan issues and differences and address the basic problems of the country,” he added in a speech on Wednesday.

The same Iranian newspaper later reported that the residents of the cemetery had been evicted by the security forces following the public outcry. It is not clear where they have been taken.

Iran’s economy has been battered by years of sanctions, and growing unemployment accompanied by rising prices have forced many into poverty.

RA

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