Officials at the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs (FMV) in the Islamic Republic confirmed on Monday, August 26, that the son of a "martyr" committed suicide by self-immolation at the Foundation's office in the city of Qom, 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of the Iranian capital, Tehran.
Soldiers killed in action, particularly during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s are called “martyrs” in Iran.
FMV is a state-run institution established to assist war victims' families and disabled veterans. Though it receives its funding directly from the national budget, it is only accountable to the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Its mission to is to manage and administer state-guaranteed benefits for those killed in action and veterans.
Local news outlets reported on August 25 that a 47-year-old son of a soldier killed in the Iran-Iraq war had committed suicide at FMV offices in the city of Qom by pouring gasoline on his body and setting himself on fire.
The local FMV deputy, Mohammad Aini, maintained that the night before the self-immolation, "The victim had gone to a hospital, demanding to be hospitalized," adding, "Hospital officials rejected him since he did not have a physician’s written request."
Without going into the details or naming the victim, Aini admitted that the 47-year-old man had already been treated several times in psychiatric hospital.
Many war veterans and their families have recently complained that FMV has forgotten its mission, and become involved in lucrative businesses, solely for the benefit of the Foundation's top managers.
The head of the Foundation is directly appointed by Ayatollah Khamenei.
The Foundation is believed to be involved in numerous business ventures, much like the Mostazafan (The Oppressed) Foundation of Islamic Revolution, another state-run establishment only accountable to the Supreme Leader.
Meanwhile, FMV is one of dozens of entities under Khamenei’s supervision which are exempt from taxes. None of these entities publish their annual financial reports.