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Ban birth control! Iran mulls extreme baby boom plans

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is contemplating a ban on vasectomies and other birth control measures

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Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is contemplating a ban on vasectomies and other birth control measures in an attempt to rekindle the Islamic Republic’s falling birthrate.

The birth rate has dropped from 3.2 percent in 1986 to 1.22 percent now, according to the CIA World Factbook. At present fertility rates, Iran's median age is projected to increase from 28 in 2013 to 40 by 2030, according to U.N. data.

In his 14-point decree online, Khamenei said increasing Iran's 76 million-strong population would “strengthen national identity” and reverse “undesirable aspects of Western lifestyles.”

Khamenei is ambitiously calling for a population of 150 million.

In reaction, Tehran lawmakers passed a bill that would see the imprisonment of doctors for five years if found guilty of performing birth control procedures. The bill is yet to be ratified and will be scrutinized by a constitutional watch dog.

The Iranian leadership is performing major U-turns with their population policy; flitting from the post Islamic Revolution baby boom to fuel the Gulf War, to the “fewer kids, better life” motto of the late 80s and now reverting to the “more kids, stronger Iran” policy.

As the current Iranian leadership attempt to roll-back the reforms made in the 80s, many Iranians — particularly women — are not happy. They fear the movement could further weaken the legal and social status of women in Iran.

Sexual health issues also exist.

“In order to fight AIDS, our only route is to distribute and teach people how to use condoms,” Dr Minoo Moharez, head of the AIDS Research Centre at Tehran University told Shargh daily.

“If, based on some policies, the distribution of condoms in the country is faced with limitations, it will cause horrible events, the increase of AIDS patients from unprotected sex will be compounded,” she added.