Reformists warn Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s population drive could restrict access to contraception and further marginalise women
Iran‘s supreme leader has called for a population increase in an edict likely to restrict access to contraception that critics fear could damage women’s rights and public health.
In his 14-point decree, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said increasing Iran’s 76 million-strong population would strengthen national identity and counter undesirable aspects of western lifestyles. “Given the importance of population size in sovereign might and economic progress … firm, quick and efficient steps must be taken to offset the steep fall in birth rate of recent years,” he wrote on his website.
Khamenei’s order, which must be applied by all three branches of government, replaces the “fewer kids, better life” motto adopted in the late 1980s when contraception was made widely available.