Fact Check: Are there “more than 6 million unemployed people in Iran”?

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Movid Hoseini Sadr, the MP from Khoi, told parliament that there are more than 6 million unemployed citizens across Iran. Is that really the case?

What Official Statistics Say

Based on figures from the Statistics Centre of Iran, in 2015, the unemployment rate among people over ten years of age was 10.9 percent. Among men, the unemployment rate was 8.9 percent, and for women it was 19.9 percent. The Centre reports that for people over fifteen years of age, the unemployment rate was 10.9 percent.

However, the Centre’s report does not discuss the exact number of unemployed workers in Iran. The Centre provides seasonal statistics and refuses to publish exact figures of unemployment across the country.  

The Central Bank has also announced that during the first three months of the year, the unemployment rate was 10.8 percent. However, Tasnim News reported that since 2013, the number of employees decreased from 22,191,244 to 21,860,836 people in 2015.

In 2013, Shargh News cited the Statistical Centre of Iran to report that in the ensuing few years, over 5 million graduates would be ready to join the workforce.

However, IRNA reported in 2015 that analyses from 2014 and 2013 suggested that in one year, 871,760 people would join the workforce. Considering the unemployment rate of 10.8 percent, the number of unemployed would reach 2 million people.

Uncertainty in The Official Figures

On the other hand, there are discrepancies in official definitions of employment. For example, the Statistical Centre of Iran defines ‘employment’ as “people over ten years of age who work at least one hour per week, including family work, interns, students, and soldiers.”

Mousa Servati, member of the Commission for Budget and Planning in parliament, claims that the number of unemployed in Iran has reached 5 million people. His figure is almost twice that of the Statistical Centre regarding unemployment.

President Rouhani’s economic advisor has also written an article claiming that in the past ten years, 7.3 million people have joined the working age population and yet continue to remain unemployed. Most of them have stayed at home and some have postponed joining the workforce by continuing their education.


Official reports contradict Hoseini Sadr’s claim. However, unofficial reports and statistics point to a figure of 5-7 million unemployed people across Iran. So, even though his claim has some elements of truth to it, it is not supported by official statistics. Therefore, we rate his claim as “half true”.