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Ayatolllah urges baby boom in Iran

The speech, urging less strict birth-control, is a major reversal in a country that has historically been in favor of strong family-planning policies.

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Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urges Iranians to have more babies in a new speech. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran's Ayatolllah urges a baby boom in a new speech.

The speech, urging less strict birth-control, is a major reversal in a country that has historically been in favor of strong family-planning policies.

According to BusinessWeek, the policy shift brings Iran in full circle.

After the revolution in 1979, large families were encouraged by the leadership as a way of making Iran strong.

It worked and Iran had one of the highest birthrates in the world in the early 1990s. 

Leaders later reversed course and began preaching more family planning as they feared a demographic spike - often the cause of further revolutions.

After the speech the Iranian government confirmed that family planning programs had been cut in this year's Iranian budget, said News 24.

With a failing economy, inflation and spiking rates of unemployment it is still unclear why Iran's leaders are changing their minds.

The Globe and Mail reported that the speech may be aimed at showing Iran is not suffering under Western sanctions.

Iran's current population growth is one of the lowest in the region at 1.3 percent per year.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120729/ayatolllah-urges-baby-boom-iran