New law to boost birth rates in Iran jeopardizes women’s rights
By Jaime León
Tehran, Nov 26 (EFE).- Iran has witnessed one the most dramatic drops in birth rates in recent history and in a bid to boost natality the regime has mandated a new law that has been staunchly criticized by human rights activists for undermining women’s rights.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the measure as a “strategic goal” to tackle plummeting population growth.
Birth rates have long been a political cornerstone of Iran’s regime.
In 1979, founder of the Iranian Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khamenei, ruled family planning anti-Islamic, flooding the streets of cities and towns with images of families with seven children.
But a social backlash forced the government into a u-turn, and in 1989, the use of contraceptives was deemed acceptable and schools started providing sex education.
Images of families were then amended to include two children and the use of birth control was no longer regarded as anti-Islamic.
Between 1989 and 2003 population growth dropped from 3,2% to 1,2% and the average number of children per household went from six to three.
Birth rates have continued to plummet and at present, the nation has a stunted population growth of 1,7% and an average of 1.6 children per woman.