Procreation policy in the Islamic Republic is clearly determined by political need rather than religious doctrine. When Ayatollah Khomeini wanted a vast Iranian army he urged the population to make babies. Fearing a population explosion in the 1990's Tehran changed tack and offered free contraceptive services, and according to Ynet
issued "religious edicts in favor of vasectomies."
Now, as Iran faces the prospect of an ageing population requiring support from the young, family planning funding has been cut from this year's budget and the Ayatollah is backing a baby making boom.
reported Khamenei appeared on state television to announce changes in the country's current birth control practices. He said contraceptive policies made sense 20 years ago "but its continuation in later years was wrong." He went on to say “The policy of population restriction should definitely be revised and the authorities should build the culture in order to abandon the current status of one child, two children [per family]."
Khamenei's words were followed with an announcement by the Iranian Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi who said "The budget for the population control program has been fully eliminated and such a project no longer exists in the health ministry. The policy of population control does not exist as it did previously.”
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has no truck with contraceptives, believing them to be an ungodly western import. However, Islam
allows for most forms of birth control, bar sterilization,providing it is used within marriage.
The decision to encourage procreation for babies comes at a time when the Iranian population is suffering under western imposed sanctions, causing financial difficulties for ordinary people. Iran's population, according to the latest census, stands at 75.1 million people.