A young military conscript in southern Iran has killed four of his fellow servicemen and took another hostage, local media reported on Monday.
Mehr News Agency quoted an informed source as saying that the conscripted soldier began the killing spree in one of the barracks of the southern province of Bushehr after his request for leave was denied. Mehr News later changed its initial report, deleting the reference to the motive of the soldier, saying it is under investigation.
According to the source, the hostage was released in the port city of Deylam and the perpetrator arrested.
According to Iran’s constitution, all men over 18 years old must serve in the military for about two years otherwise they cannot apply for a passport to leave the country. Most of them are drafted into the traditional Army, but some with the right connections serve with the Revolutionary Guard where conditions are much better.
In January, Iran announced it would reinstitute a buy-out scheme for the country’s compulsory military service, but canceled plans just one day after it was reported following widespread criticism by citizens and officials.
The new fees announced for the buy-out scheme that ranged between about $10,000 and $20,000 had shocked people in Iran whose average salaries are less than $200 a month. Many social media users had slammed the decision that would only be possible for the rich to afford.