Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticised population control as an “imperialistic project” based on a “humanist and pleasure-seeking” approach to life.
“Propaganda such as ‘do not get married if you’re afraid of poverty’ or ‘low population is key to prosperity’ are among the evil measures to scare people from doing good deeds,” Ahmadinejad said in a meeting today with the managers of the central Yazd province, according to his website.
Iran is better off now with its 75 million population and about 2 million barrels of oil export per day, Ahmadinejad said, compared to the time before the Islamic revolution of 1979. The population was 35 million at the time and Iran exported over 5 million barrels of oil daily, he said.
The authorities in Iran resist western influence and blame many of Iran’s social ills on a “cultural assault” from the West. Although the population is predominantly Muslim, many people, particularly the younger generation born after the revolution, have liberal attitudes and follow the same trends in music, film and fashion as people of their age would do in Europe.
However, lovers in Iran may have trouble finding presents for Valentine’s Day this year. A ban has been imposed on the production of gifts, such as cards and boxes with symbols of hearts or roses, for the February 14 celebration that is named after a Christian saint, according to media reports citing the head of union for printing works.
“Honouring foreign celebrations is the spread of Western culture,” said Ali Nikou Sokhan. “Our country has an ancient civilization and various days to honour kindness, love and affection,” Reuters cited local media as reporting his comments.
Valentine’s Day has become popular with younger generations in recent years. What they give their lovers this year will require a little more imagination.
euronews correspondent in London