A study conducted by the Research Center of the Iranian Parliament says that the current unemployment figures in Iran are alarming.
The results of the study were published on the parliament's website and indicate that the soaring unemployment over the past four years "may give rise to a crisis."
The study noted that unemployment was one of the underlying causes of the protests that swept across Iran this past winter.
According to the study, more than 3 million job seekers have been added to those already unemployed during the years 2014 to 2017. The study points out that this figure is the largest of its kind in comparison with the unemployment figures released during the 10 years before that period.
The study covers the three and a half years prior to 2018; however, there is no indication that the situation has improved since.
The Iranian Parliament’s Research Center study says, "The rise in the unemployment of youth, women, and educated individuals calls for a change in the course of Iran's economy more than ever before."
The study says 1.4 million of more than 3 million unemployed individuals were born in the 1980s and are between 27 and 36 years old, and warns that "some of them may not have the chance to find a job."
This spring, the Iranian Statistical Center, a government body, put the unemployment rate in Iran at 12.1 percent, adding that the number of unemployed individuals in the country was just over 3.3 million, which is nearly 45,000 fewer than the previous year.
However, critics -- including the MPs who questioned President Hassan Rouhani at the parliament last week about his economic policies -- have repeatedly said that the figures released by the government cannot be trusted.
The latest estimate looks more optimistic than its previous assessments. The research center had said previously that there were 5 million to 7 million unemployed individuals in Iran and predicted the figure would reach 11 million by 2021.
It pointed out that despite rising unemployment, the fact that 2 million people were added to the 21 million already in employment between 2014 and 2017 was "a very significant development."
The research center said that those born in the 1990s and women with university degrees comprised a high number of current job seekers.
According to the study, educated women under 29 years of age in the provinces of Kurdistan, Kerman, Ardabil, and Kermanshah comprise 84, 79, 78, and 76 percent of the unemployed, respectively.
The report adds that some 40 percent of new job seekers between 2014 and 2017 were women. Other government figures released by the Management and Planning Organization have said that 42 percent of the unemployed have university degrees.
Meanwhile, as the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran's economy grows, there are rising concerns about employed people losing their jobs as foreign companies leave Iran and industries and businesses find it hard to continue operation in view of the rapid downfall of the value of the national currency, the rial, which has lost at least one-third of its value during the past eight months.
Former Labor Minister Ali Rabiei predicted in early August that more than 1 million Iranians will lose their jobs because of renewed U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran following the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran.