Iran’s fertility rate has crashed over the past few decades of Islamicist rule. So much so that the mullahs who run the country are now calling for more babies to be born.
Departing from the traditional Islamic understanding of children as a blessing, the government began a foreign-inspired and supported campaign against the large family in the early 1980s. The principal architect of Iran’s population control program was Hossein Malek-Afzali, a physician who was, like most population controllers, trained in the United States.
First of all, the ayatollahs themselves began speaking out in favor of contraception and sterilization at their televised religious services. The government—controlled by the ayatollahs, of course—followed suit. Television programs were produced and broadcast that openly promoted family planning. A network of volunteers was set up to go house to house and urge women to limit their childbearing. At the same time, the government began offering free contraceptive services—including pills, condoms, IUDs and the contraceptive patch—and free sterilization. The fertility rate shrank dramatically, until by 2010 it stood at 1.6 children and falling.
The ayatollahs, seeing the handwriting on the wall, have now changed their minds again. Confronted with the reality of an aging and dying population with no replacements in sight, they have begun encouraging more children. They have embarked upon a program of government aid, such as creating and funding a bank account for each child born. They have abolished their counterproductive birth control program.