Recent census data from Iran indicate that there has been a significant drop in the annual rate of population growth from 1.6 percent to 1.29 percent.

Iran’s Minister of Health had already expressed concern about the decline in population growth in February. Marzieh Vahid Dastejerdi had said her ministry should take steps to promote marriages and child-bearing in order to reverse this development.

In the early 1990s, Iranian authorities began implementing population-control policies, which became very successful, turning a growth rate of 3.2 percent to just 1.2 percent.

The Ahmadinejad administration, however, has opposed population control, and the recent government view is to denounce population control as a “Western policy” unsuitable for Iranian concerns.

Yesterday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted as saying that population control was a policy that suited the 1990s but, at this juncture in time, such a policy is erroneous.

“Officials must seriously reconsider population control and use all platforms, including the clergy, to educate the public in this regard.”