Population Policies in Islamic Republic of Iran: The Wisdom Stage

Ali-Asghar Kolahi

Abstract


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Manpower is undoubtedly the key element of sustainable development in every country. Accordingly, comprehensive plan and preparation for training, empowerment, and manpower provision are essential toward development goals. With a brief look around the world, one will find that progress has been made everywhere with the use of efficient and productive manpower. Fertility behavior in the past determines the current population and age distribution; therefore, the present fertility behavior will determine population and age distribution in the future. Accordingly, demography is a science that enables planners to anticipate the future, and based on its requirements, make long-term population policies for the country. Although this science dates back to at least 200 years, there has been little interest in using it in our country. While population policies are multi-generational they have been changed four times in Iran during less than 40 years: (1) Restrictive policy in the 70s, (2) Hasty and unjustified expansive policy in the 80s, (3) Reintroduction of the restrictive policy in 90s and 2000s, and finally (4) Return to wisdom, the replacement policy with the increase in fertility announced in 2014.
Analyzing these four policies, it seems that the adoption of restrictive policy to deal with the abrupt and sharp decline in mortality after 1950 was inevitable and the reintroduction of the restrictive policy in stage 3 was a kind of confrontation with the expansive policy of stage 2. However, the policy of stage 2 was hasty and without regard to its consequences. In stage 4, or returning to rationalism, we witness the definitive knowledge of demography, the least goal of which is the replacement level. The particular significance of this policy in the development of the country is obvious and its contents are self-evident wisdom and prosperity. It is expected that the scientific community and scholars also try to play a role in proportion to their scientific position in the objective accomplishment of its contents.
General Policies on Population (1)
1. Improving the dynamism, development and youthful nature of the population by increasing the fertility rate to a higher rate than the rate of sub-replacement fertility.
2. Removing the obstacles of marriage, facilitating marriage, promoting the formation of family and giving birth to more children, encouraging youth to marry at a younger age, supporting young couples and enabling them to afford the cost of living and to raise righteous and competent children.
3. Providing mothers with special resources - particularly during pregnancy and breast-feeding - and with childbirth insurance, treating men's and women's infertility and supporting the organizations in charge of such affairs.
4. Strengthening the foundation of the family by improving and completing the public educational plans about the essential nature of family and child-rearing, encouraging people to learn the skills which are necessary for life, providing consultative services on the basis of Islamic-Iranian culture and values, developing and supporting the Social Security Organization, improving health and treatment services and paying attention to medical care with the purpose of ensuring fertility.
5. Promoting and establishing an Islamic-Iranian lifestyle and confronting the negative aspects of the western lifestyle.
6. Increasing hope about life, ensuring the health and proper nutrition of the people and preventing social detriments particularly addiction, accidents, pollution and diseases.
7. Creating a culture for respecting the aged, preparing the ground for ensuring their health and for preserving them in families and developing necessary guidelines for benefiting from the experiences and capabilities of old people in appropriate arenas.
8. Empowering the working population by creating an appropriate culture, by improving and strengthening educational organizations and public, entrepreneurial and technical instructions and lessons and by coordinating these instructions with the needs of society, and with talented individuals and their interests with the purpose of creating efficient and productive employment.
9. Environmental and geographical redistribution of the population - in line with environmental capacities - by stressing the necessity of water with the purpose of fair distribution and reducing population pressures.
10. Preserving the population of villages and border and sparsely populated areas and creating new population centers in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman coastal areas and islands by developing infrastructural networks, encouraging investment and creating an appropriate environment for business with appropriate levels of income and profit.
11. Managing immigration from and to the country in line with the general policies on population and by developing and implementing necessary guidelines.
12. Encouraging the Iranians who live abroad to be present and to invest in Iran and utilizing their capacities and capabilities.
13. Strengthening the factors (Iranian, Islamic and revolutionary) which bring about national identity, promoting consensus and social convergence nationally, particularly among the residents of border areas and the Iranians who live abroad.
14. Constant follow-up - quantitative and qualitative - of population policies by developing appropriate guidelines, defining domestic standards for human development and carrying out research on population and human development.
This editorial is written with the aim of bringing the attention of readers to the editorial "Policy implications of cultural shifts and enduring low fertility in Iran" and the article "Reasons for intending to have no children in Tehran, Iran" in the same issue of the journal.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.22037/ch.v6i2.24405


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