Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said that it wasn’t just well-known Iranians who had defected and that the brain drain was a well-established trend in Iran and across the Middle East.

“These tend to be people such as doctors and lawyers on the wealthier end of the spectrum with the ability to do so,” he said.

But working-class Iranians have also voiced their discontent, and Shahi said many of them were also leaving, which he described as “muscle drain.”

“Iran is suffering from the politics of hopelessness,” he said.