Ahmadinejad’s New Push: Make Babies, Make $950 Plus

By Enjoli Francis

Jul 29, 2010 5:33pm

ABC's Lara Setrakian reports from Dubai, UAE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is urging, even paying to make more babies. A new policy to encourage population growth is reportedly offering $950 per child plus a stipend of $95 each year until the age of 18. He called family planning "the realm of the secular world," with no place in what Iran calls its Islamic Republic. The policy fits Ahmadinejad's M.O. of cash handouts, using Iran's massive oil wealth on subsidies that benefit his middle and lower class fan base. But it reverses Iran's longtime policy of trying to limit large families, after a baby boom that lasted throughout the 1980s. In the 1990s the country encouraged vasectomies and manufactured condoms as a state-sponsored way to control the population. That's left Iran with a demographic bulge of 20-somethings — of Iran's 75 million people, more than 60 percent are younger than 30 years old, putting a strain on the job pool and some social services. That's in part why Ahmadinejad's pro-baby finance package has caused so much controversy in Iran. With an estimated 10 million people living under the poverty line and the economy penned in by sanctions, there's not enough as is to go around.

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