Iran’s leaders are continuing to encourage families to have more children, with latest efforts to spur a baby boom appearing in the form of roadside billboards.
The delights of procreation are now being promoted to Iranian motorists, with billboards popping up across major highways in the Islamic Republic’s capital, the Britain-based Telegraph reported on Friday.
A slogan appearing on the cartoon-style billboards reads: "One flower does not make a spring, more children, a happier life," according to the newspaper.
“One poster depicts a father and five jolly-looking children riding a bicycle in tandem. Peddling behind them are a father and his son looking decidedly less happy in an image meant to convey the defects of the recent Iranian habit of limiting family size to just one child,” The Telegraph reported.
Last month, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a message urging Iranians to produce more babies, which he said is essential for the future of the Islamic Republic.
“Young image is an essential and important issue for the country, and the countries which have faced aging population have overcome the issue in a difficult way,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in his message addressed to the national conference of the population changes, the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.
“It is necessary, therefore, to carry out essential and scientific work to resolve this issue,” Khamenei added.
The Iranian population is estimated at 79 million in 2013 and about half are about 35 years of age.
Khamenei said 150 million is the “minimum” that Iran should have and that it is capable for more. He criticized the government policies during the reformist administration of Mohammad Khatami who encouraged family planning.
Earlier this year, 150,000 Iranian health officers have been deployed in a house-to-house mission to urge couples to have more children, reported The Telegraph.
Mohammad Ismail Motlagh, general manager of the health ministry’s family, school health and population program explained that the program’s main objective is to encourage couples to avoid producing single-child families.
“In the marriage training course, we have focused more on the child-producing because the single-child issue has caused so many problems and provoked much debate,” he said in an interview with Fars news agency.
He also suggested that mothers should reduce pregnancy gaps to two years and that if pregnancy gaps exceed two years, “couples should revise their methods and make plans in this regard.”