, TEHRAN, Apr 29 – Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad mocked Iran\’s award-winning family planning policy on Thursday, insisting Iranians need to have more children, local media reported.
In a meeting with town council members, Ahmadinejad warned that 30 years from now Iran will be stuck with an ageing population like in the West and the situation will be "dangerous."
"Westerners said 40 years ago \’let us control the population\’… now look at them. Their population is old and ageing," Ahmadinejad said, according to a report by ISNA news agency.
"Some people turned up in our country and blindly said let us do what they are doing and said that two kids are enough and also passed a law concerning this."
He was referring to a 1993 family planning law passed to control population growth in Iran after the baby boom years which followed the 1979 Islamic revolution, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urged Iranians to have more kids.
Iran\’s population grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent for more than a decade from around 36 million around the time of the revolution.
The swelling demographics forced the regime to implement the family planning law in 1993 as government representatives went door to door handing contraceptives and educating people about the benefits of small families.
Since then the annual population growth rate has dipped to around 1.6 percent and Iran eventually won a United Nations award for its family planning programme.
"Now the average Iranian family is under four people. We will face a dangerous situation 30 years from now," Ahmadinejad said.
He insisted that Iranian "people want to have kids" adding that "God is there to nourish them."
Ahmadinejad has previously also made such calls, but has faced opposition from some former health ministers.
Iran\’s population currently stands at around 74 million, of which 60 percent are below 30 years of age.