A fired employee of the Mostazafan Foundation went on a lethal shooting spree at his former workplace in Ilam, western Iran, on Wednesday. The unnamed assailant killed three of his fomer colleagues and then himself after taking the office hostage.
According to IRNA news agency, the man formerly worked in the Foundation's property and real estate division. He is understood to have been dismissed recently. Police commander Colonel Farzad Yasemi told the media that some of the injured were still in a critical condition.
The episode comes in the midst of a subsistence crisis in Iran, with recent government-imposed food price hikes driving many people to take part in ongoing street protests.
The suicide rate has also increased markedly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Last October a man set himself on fire in front of the Foundation for Martyrs and Veterans’ Affairs building in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, in a desperate act those present on the scene attributed to poverty.
The Mostazafan Foundation, also called the Foundation for the Oppressed, was originally set up in 1980 to support the poor and oppressed in Iran. It is now the second-biggest commercial enterprise in Iran and directly overseen by the Supreme Leader.
The U.S. Treasury sanctioned the Mostazafan Foundation in 2020, describing it as "a key patronage network for Iran's Supreme Leader" with 160 holdings in critical economic sectors including energy, construction and mining.