TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated a new policy on Tuesday to encourage population growth, dismissing Iran’s decades of internationally-acclaimed family planning as ungodly and a Western import.
The new government initiative will pay families for every new child and deposit money into the newborn’s bank account until they reach 18, effectively rolling back years of efforts to boost the economy by reducing the country’s once runaway population growth.
“Those who raise idea of family planning, they are thinking in the realm of the secular world,” Ahmadinejad said during the inauguration ceremony.
The plan is part of Ahmadinejad’s stated commitment to further increase Iran’s population, which is already estimated at 75 million. He has previously said the country could support up to 150 million.
The program would be especially attractive to the lower income segments of the population formed the backbone of Ahmadinejad’s support in the 2005 and 2009 elections.