Khamenei: Iran needs a population increase to have more ‘righteous individuals’

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for an increase in Iran’s population on Sunday.

Khamenei’s official website, Khamenei.ir, reported that the Supreme Leader emphasized on the importance of a population increase in the country in a meeting with a group of young Iranian couples.

In a Muslim nation, a sizeable population provides potential for growth and excellence, according to Khamenei. “When the population is large, the number of righteous individuals and the potential in the population is certainly larger,” he said.

“You see, in some Western countries, for example in America, a family has 15 to 20 children … they are even encouraged, and no one blames them. But when it is our turn, the opposite is encouraged,” said Khamenei.

Khamenei gave China and India as examples of countries that have benefitted from having large populations, claiming that the advantages have outweighed the disadvantages.

He said the Iranian people and top government officials advocate his view.

This is not the first time Khamenei has addressed the topic of Iran’s population. On numerous occasions in recent years, he has expressed a desire for a larger population and criticized the country’s population control policies. In 2013, when Iran’s population, according to the World Bank, was around 76.5 million, he had said that it should be “at least” 150 million.

The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report for 2019 forecasted a 4.5 negative percent growth for Iran, making it the worst ranked economy only ahead of Nicaragua. In 2018, Iran’s GDP per capita was $5,037, less than half of the global average based on World Bank statistics.

According CEIC data, Iran’s unemployment rate stands at 12.10 percent, while the official youth unemployment rate is 27 percent.

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