WASHINGTON — A month into the war in neighboring Syria, millions of Iranians are still in their homes.
The government has made it difficult for them to leave, limiting the number of flights and limiting their movement to a few cities, but many Iranians have decided to seek work.
In the past few months, many Iranians in cities such as Tehran, Mashhad and the southern city of Esfahan have worked in the construction industry.
The workers are mostly women.
Iran has the second-largest construction industry in the world after China.
Some of the workers are from the United States.
The construction industry has thrived during the war.
In January, Iranian workers were building the countrys first airport.
It was completed in April and the city is now home to the country’s largest airport.
The countrys economy has also become a victim of the war, with unemployment in Iran now hovering around 10 percent.
For many Iranians, the war has been a turning point in their lives.
In February, Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani announced a ban on religious observance, which he said would help fight the spread of the deadly virus.
“We cannot be afraid of what our neighbors do.
The fear of a single virus has become a very large problem,” Rouhani said in February.
Now that Iran has declared a state of emergency, many of its workers have gone back to their homes to take care of their families and make ends meet.
“I think we have lost hope,” said Hossein Raghavari, a construction worker who lives in the city of Mashhad.
“The war has destroyed our livelihoods.
There are no jobs for construction workers.
They are not able to earn money.”
Raghajari has been working for the last six months.
He said he had been on a construction project in Esfahaniyeh, a Shiite district in the western city of Kermanshah.
He has been unable to leave because of a shortage of funds.
“There is no work, and we cannot go home because the war is going on,” Raghaji said.
His friend, Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran, has said that Iran will not give up its revolution and will never allow another revolution.
His words have helped some Iranians to return home, though there are many who are not sure whether they will be able to do so.
Many Iranians, however, are staying put.
A few have left Iran for the United Kingdom and Canada, and others have gone to Germany, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.
A couple of weeks ago, some families from Mashhad took a train to a port in India.
They have stayed in the country for months.
The trains have not left, though, and many families are staying in hotels and motels.
The only way to leave the country is to return to Iran.
“You cannot return to the homeland,” said Mohammad Salami, an Iranian who has lived in India for more than 20 years.
“If you do that, you are leaving your country.
The problem is the fear of the virus, not the war.”
“You don’t have any hope.
You have no one to look to,” said Raghijin, who has been living in India since the war began.
“My wife is going to the UK to look for a job.
If I don’t come back to the home country, she will leave.”
Salami’s wife, Fatima, is still waiting for a phone call from her husband.
“It is like nothing,” Fatima Salami said.
“No one is here.
There is no money to support us.
We have no money.”
In the United Nations Human Rights Council, Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, expressed concern about the situation in Iran.
He told the council that the war would lead to the creation of a “fuelling of sectarian strife and extremism.”
The Iranian government has not said how many workers have returned home from the war zones in Syria, or what their conditions are like.
In Mashhad, there are no shops or restaurants open.
But Raghjani, who works as a taxi driver, said he does not have to worry about his family.
“All I can do is go back to work and give my children good education.
We are not scared of the death of our sons, our daughters and our wives,” Rahajani said.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.