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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad complained about Iranians lack on interest in having more children, in an interview aired on national television this week.
“I don’t believe two kids are enough. I see very eligible young couples, married, making enough money, but they’re not having kids,” he said while apologizing to the TV presenter for being so frank.
“Our population must be continued, and I am very surprised that the clergy are quiet about this issue,” he added, hoping that they too encourage the nation to add more children to their family.
Ahmadinejad referred to the Quran saying: “It’s even God’s words that one must not abstain from having children just because of financial difficulty. God will help in paying for those children.”
He also put forward a plan last week in which the government would ensure that a bank account would be set up in the names of all children born in the next year and $1,000 deposited.
The recent invitation to population increase hasn’t gone down well with many in Iran. Ahmadinejad was bombarded with criticism from members of the parliament, the clergy, and experts.
Mohammad-Reza Khabbaz, head of the economic commission in Parliament said in an interview with Pool (Money) newspaper on Wednesday: “When an official says something, it should be backed up with logic, Sharia law, or reliable statistics. It seems that Ahmadinejad’s recent comments lacked all of those.”
“This sounds more like a joke,” said Mohammad Mehdi Shahriari, member of the parliament’s security commission. “With all the problems our country faces right now, this seems to be the last one we need.”
Masoud Pezeshkian, former health minister and current member of parliament said: “It would be good if the government could solve the problems of the youth, rather than invite an increase in population.”
A large population of young Iranians face unemployment and expensive and unattainable housing among other problems. These are causes of concern among experts who see an increase in population, currently at 70 million.