Out-of-wedlock births in Iran

*See also, our article on deaths from adultery in the United $tates compared with Iran

According to the Neo-Conservative Reader edited by Mark Gerson, “‘Illegitimacy is therefore ‘the single most important social problem of our time.'” That’s what they say in the United $tates, because the code language is against Blacks; however, MIM takes the neo-conservatives seriously despite knowing better and we show readers where there is lower out-of-wedlock birth — Iran.

It’s no secret that the neo-conservatives saying that out-of-wedlock births is the pre-eminent issue of our time are the same ones trying to ruin Iran by exporting U.$. gender patterns to Iran via war. Now the United $tates whips up hoopla over the assassination of Neda in Iran, with the false underlying national chauvinist assumption that “our” gender ideas are better than Iran’s.

Meanwhile here is what some Iranians had to say looking at U.$. birth patterns.

“High-school pregnancies, once a mark of shame, have become a badge of honor–and proved no barrier to Sarah Palin’s campaign. The new mood, fostered by Bush’s family and economic policies, is not confined to the rural South, but is apparent even in affluent Massachusetts. Now many fear the trend is threatening to erode hard-won women’s rights, Guardian reported.”(1)

This impression of some Iranian writers is backed by facts. Almost 40% of U.$. births in 2007 went to unwed mothers.(2) By contrast, MIM estimates that less (probably much less) than 11% of Iranian births are out-of-wedlock, based on a survey of 1500 male teens in Iran. According to Marie Ladier-Fouladi “fertility outside marriage is non-existent” in Iran. (3) By this measure, Amerikkkans should know when to shut up. What goes with Amerikan attitudes toward “gender equality” is a huge dead-beat dad problem. Amerikan pseudo-feminists prefer to use billboards and attitude posturing against dead-beat dads, but Third World people want to make sure that fathers have a stake in their children and avoid having matters going that far.

True, Iranians come off as odd to Amerikkkans on sex issues, but the real problem is that the general rich male privilege of sex for its own sake is not secure in a country where the average income is under $10,000 per capita, not to mention $3000 per capita. Sex for its own sake in Iran threatens the physical welfare of children in a way that is impossible even for single mothers in the exploiter United $tates.

“Homosexuality is not accepted in Islamic contexts and is considered as a crime. Children should have a family with both mother and father, unless they lose one of them or both. In the latter situation Islamic court will hand over the custody of the child to someone else like uncle or grandfather.
Conclusion: We concluded that according to Islam and Iran’s law, fertility treatment cannot be offered to single mothers and homosexuals mostly because of welfare of the child.”(4)

When Western Liberals read the above, they hear only repression of homosexuals, but in fact, all sex for its own sake is being repressed, through the use of the burka and rules against singles and gays/lesbians.

Iran acknowledges the existence of single mothers who have unregistered marriages, especially holdover marriages from “temporary marriages” once encouraged in Iran for youth. Nonetheless, there is a strong prohibition on single motherhood and the state will not condone fertility treatment for single mothers.

“The question is if the single mother is accepted, why the infertility treatment is limited to the married couples? The answer is; the basis for accepting a fatherless child for registry and giving the ID is the welfare of the child and prevention of any possible psychological and social problems for the child in the future, considering that fatherless child is a social fact that can not be prevented. On the other hand, efforts to make a fatherless child are completely against the welfare of the child.”(4)

The influence of the family is still strong in Iran, compared with the United $tates. 89% of 1500 male teens in Tehran aged 15-18 still lived with both parents. Only 1% lived independently and 10% with one parent. That contrasts with a volatile situation in the United $tates, where the Census Bureau is having to decide whether a female living with a boyfriend has a second parent looking after her kids. The 2000 Census counted 26.7% of children living with only one parent in the United $tates, compared with 10% of late teen boys in Tehran.(5)

The same male teens polled in Tehran expressed strong disapproval of homosexuality, 69%, compared with 56% who also strongly believe young wimmin should not have sex before marriage. There is a little more edge to Iranian homophobia than to its general sexual repressiveness, but mostly, we can see that Iran practices opposition to sex for its own sake, as is not surprising for a country where people live closer to the economic edge. The Iranian reading of Islam fits its economic position: “Sexual action is encouraged between husband and wife not only as a step toward procreation, but also as a completely natural activity within marriage. On the contrary, it is condemned outside marriage and between same sexes.”(4)

According to Jocelyn DeYoung et. al., Arab wimmin are over one-half illiterate, but Iranian wimmin are actually 92% literate (6) thanks to advances since the Iranian Revolution in the rural areas. Nonetheless, DeYoung et. al. reported figures as low as 4% college age sexual activity in the Arab countries.

Also contrary to stereotype, it was the religious leaders of Iran who led the family planning responsible for a decrease in fertility.(7) For that matter, it was under the Islamic Revolution when Iranian wimmin achieved their highest educational equality yet.(8) The decline of the fertility rate and the advance in wimmin’s education co-verify each other for those familiar with social data. Various sources report that teen fertility has declined(9) and first-age of marriage has risen in Iran.

Ironically, in 2000, for which we have comparative data, the total teen fertility rate was higher in the United $tates than in Iran, with 1000 15-19 year-old females generating 43 births in 2002 in the United $tates and 35 in 2000 in Iran.(9)

The reason you our readers have to hear from MIM on this is that comparative feminism is unheard of in the United $tates. Supposed feminists such as Phyllis Chesler and Andrea Dworkin are really women’s department heads in the white nationalist movements. Thinking internationally in U.$. pseudo-feminism means buying token females from each country with Rockefeller money, in a gesture of “inclusiveness.” There was no one other than MIM to get up before the war on Afghanistan or the covert operations against Iran and say that what is being done in the name of Western feminism is not feminism.

In the midst of the U.$. attack on Iraq, neo-conservative diplomat John Bolton said “real men go to Iran.” It is safe to say that the media clamor from the United $tates about gender conditions in Iran stems from the same fucked up militarist place, not from any knowledge or thought about what would be good for Iranian wimmin.

1. http://www.iran-daily.com/1387/3224/html/society.htm#s332460

2. http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/04/08/out.of.wedlock.births/index.html
38.5% in 2006: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/FASTATS/unmarry.htm

3. Published by a French demographic institute: http://www.ined.fr/
Marie Ladier-Fouladi , “The Fertility Transition in Iran,” Population: An English Selection, Vol. 9, (1997), pp. 191-213.

89% of male teens still live with both parents in Iran. Only 11% have a single parent or no parent. When we count deaths of parents along the way or divorces, the maximum possible illegitmacy rate has to be below 11% for those boys aged 14-18 studied. See footnote 5 for the source.

Another way of getting at this problem is looking at fertility figures by marital status.

“The bulk of fertility decline in Iran during 1990s happened within marriage. Marital fertility
decline counted for about 85 percent of total decline through the 1986-2000 periods
(Aghajanian and Mehryar, 2005). The rest of fertility decline was due to deferred female

Akbar Aghajanian & AmirH. Mehryar, “The Pace of Fertility Decline in Iran:
Finding from the Demographic and Health Survey,” Journal of Comparative Family Studies; Spring2007, Vol. 38 Issue 2, pp. 255-264.
The same article above says that Iran’s decline in fertility is the fastest in the world’s history.

Hassan Hakimian is so confident that illegitimate births are hardly an issue, that he sees the later marriage age as a partial contributing factor to decreased overall fertility, but even so, chalks up 90% to what is going on inside Iranian marriages. “From Demographic Transition to Fertility Boom and
Bust: Iran in the 1980s and 1990s,” Development & Change; May2006, Vol. 37 Issue 3, pp. 571-597.

For an argument that Western gender status is inferior to Iranian, see

4. Samani, RO, Dizaj, AVT, Moalem, MRR, Merghati, ST, Alizadeh, L
“Access to fertility treatments for homosexual and unmarried persons, through Iranian law and Islamic perspective,” IRANIAN JOURNAL OF FERTILITY & STERILITY 1 (3): 127-130 NOV-DEC 2007

5. Mohammad Reza Mohammadi, Kazem Mohammad, Farideh K. A. Farahani, Siamak Alikhani, Mohammad Zare, Fahimeh R. Tehrani, Ali Ramezankhani, Farshid Alaeddini, “Reproductive Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior among Adolescent Males in Tehran, Iran,” International Family Planning Perspectives, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 35-44.
See, http://singleparents.about.com/b/2008/08/11/the-number-of-children-currently-living-with-a-single-parent.htm for an objection to not counting unmarried boyfriends.

The comparison I made is biased toward the United $tates, because I compared children generally with late teen children in Iran. It is obviously more difficult to survive with an intact family into late teenhood than in an average that includes babies less than a year old. The longer time goes on, the more failed romances and accidental death plays a role.

6. Jocelyn DeJong, Rana Jawad, Iman Mortagy and Bonnie Shepard, “The Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young People in the Arab Countries and Iran,” Reproductive Health Matters, Vol. 13, No. 25, Implementing ICPD: What’s Happening in Countries: Maternal Health and Family Planning (May, 2005), pp. 49-59.

7. Kevin McQuillan, “When Does Religion Influence Fertility?” Population and Development Review, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Mar., 2004), pp. 42-3.

8. Golnar Mehran, “The Paradox of Tradition and Modernity in Female Education in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Comparative Education Review, Vol. 47, No. 3 (Aug., 2003), pp. 269-286.

9. http://iussp2009.princeton.edu/download.aspx?submissionId=93304


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2 Responses to “Out-of-wedlock births in Iran”

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