Sep 252012
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and CNN's Piers Morgan

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an interview with Piers Morgan that aired Monday night, said, “Homosexuality ceases procreation.” Ahmadinejad, who previously claimed that homosexuality does not exist in Iran and whose government punishes homosexuality with death, asked, “Do you think faggots can have children?” and suggested corrective action for anyone who believes they are gay or lesbian. When asked how he would react if his own children were gay, he responded, “proper education must be provided.” Ahmadinejad also dismissed homosexuality as cultural relativism, saying, “If a group recognizes an ugly behavior or ugly deed as legitimate, you must not expect other countries or other groups to give it the same recognition.”

LGBT Iranians are subject to violence and discrimination by both the state and society, a fact that has been documented by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Iranian Queer Organization (IrQO) and noted by United Nations experts.

In its 2011 Concluding Observations about the Government of Iran, the U.N. Human Rights Committee determined that the government violated the laws it agreed to uphold under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, writing, “As a state that prides itself in tradition and morality, Iran must now take immediate action to ensure its definitions of tradition and morality are in accordance with the fundamental principles of international human rights law.”

In his annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, wrote that, “members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community face harassment, persecution and cruel punishment and are denied their basic human rights, including their right to life.”

“Despite last night’s glib interview, the fact is that President Ahmadinejad uses LGBT Iranians as scapegoats for his government’s poor human rights record and as a distraction from critical human rights concerns,” said Jessica Stern, newly appointed executive director of IGLHRC. “He should ask LGBT Iranians themselves whether they were born that way or love their children, and he just might get some much-needed re-education himself.”