Exclusive — Selling Body Parts in Iran: An Untold Tragedy

Foreign Affairs Committee of National Council of Resistance of Iran

Buyers and sellers

Average prices in a middleman market- Scope of the business

Average Market prices in 2018

Methods of selling and buying — The lucrative business of organ brokerage

-Direct sales

Buying and selling through brokers

Alley of “Farhang Hosseini,” known as “Kidney Street” in Tehran

The following are pictures of Farhang Hosseini alley.

Reactions from regime officials

A few cases:

  • * A 30-year-old computer science Ph.D. student offered his kidneys for sale on July 23, 2019, by posting a written text at the bus stop. He wrote that he was doing so because he was unable to afford the cost of care for his disabled mother and had no money for rent and education.
  • * On December 2, 2018, the state-run Salamatnews wrote: “Amir, who is about 18 years old, has auctioned his kidneys due to poverty. He doesn’t want more than 500 million Rials. (5,000 dollars). He says he can no longer cope with the landlord’s complaints. He and his brother have each decided to sell one of their kidneys and buy a small house with the help of a loan to relieve their mother of the suffering of not having a home. Amir said he had been trapped by dealers several times and was close to auctioning off his kidneys, but with the help of a friend who had a history of kidney sales, he drew a line around dealers, and is now looking for a real buyer without intermediaries.”[4]
  • * On December 1, 2018, the state-run newspaper Shafa Online, after talking to a liver vendor who had posted an ad on a wall, wrote that the seller was a middle-aged man with a southern accent who in reply to the phone call said: “My blood group is O negative. I will sell my liver for 1.5 billion rials ($15,000). If you are a buyer, we can meet … My child has a rare disease. Specialist doctors have diagnosed the illness differently and no one knows what my child’s main problem is. There was a gland next to his neck that became more swollen day by day until the gland became infected and since then my child’s weight has been lowering and he has fever two or three nights a week. We now live in a relative’s house in Tehran around Shoosh (a poor neighborhood in south Tehran). I couldn’t come to Tehran every month with my three children and my wife and go back to Bandar Abbas (southern Iran). Last month I sold my kidney and the broker got half of the money and now I want to sell part of my liver directly to cover the cost of my child’s treatment.”
  • * Shahla, who had come to Tehran from Dehdasht in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province (west Iran) in 2017, told the Hamshahri state-run newspaper on January 14, 2109: “We have done everything you say but it is useless. Anywhere we go for work, they either want experience or references, and we have neither. So my husband decided to sell his kidney. We’ve brought our stuff here so they don’t erase our phone numbers from the wall.” She adds: “If this money comes in, it can be a huge help to our lives. I no longer have to go back to our city and live away from my wife.”[6]
  • * Shahin wrote his name boldly on the wall next to the association in the alley of “Farhang Hosseini”. He told the Hamshahri state-run newspaper on January 14, 2019: “The financial problems and the addiction and illness of family members have made me reach to the bottom of the line and so I want to sell my kidney. Anyone who calls me requests a discount. As if they are all worse off than me, but there is no one telling them we are not bargaining over a few pounds of chicken and meat.”

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Masoud Dalvand

Masoud Dalvand

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Human rights activist and advocate of democracy, freedom, and justice in Iran. http://about.me/m.dalvand