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Iran's Ahmadinejad: Treat gays like traffic offenders

by PageOneQ

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, defended his nation's treatment of its gay citizens on CNN's Larry King Live Tuesday night.

Speaking through a translator, Ahmadinejad told King that he was more concerned about the population of Iran as a whole than "a few homosexuals," and that laws against gays are enacted and enforced on the same principle that, for example, traffic laws are.

Ahmadinejad has faced criticism for a speech he made at Columbia University in September of 2007 in which he said that "we don't have homosexuals" in Iran. "In Iran," he said, "we do not have this phenomenon." A spokesman later said that the comments were misinterpreted.

Homosexuality in Iran is punishable by death, and some gay men in Iran undergo gender reassignment surgery to avoid prosecution. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, all sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage is illegal. Under Iran's criminal code, two consenting men who have sex can be punished by death, the method of which would be determined by a Shari'a judge.

The segment below, followed by partial transcript (starting at 1:43), is from CNN's Larry King Live, broadcast on September 23, 2008.

ADHMADINEJAD: What do you mean by human rights problems?

KING: People protesting that they don't have the same rights as other people? Homosexuals...you said last year, you denied there were homosexuals. There's homosexuals everywhere.

AHMADINEJAD: I said it's not the way it is here. In Iran this is considered a very...obviously most people dislike it, and we have actually a law regarding it, and the law is enforced. It is a law that was passed. It was legislated. And it is an act that is against human principles. A lot of things can happen. It can cause psychological problems, social problems that affect the whole society. Remember that God's rules are to improve human life. In our religion, this act is forbidden and the Parliament has legislated about it. Not now--70 years ago. This is something that happened 70 years ago, before the Islamic Republic became--

KING: --So what happens to gay people?

AHMADINEJAD: Let me--well, of course, nobody has held protests. You are--are you concerned for 70 million Iranian people or a few homosexuals? Let's assume in Iran--let's assume in the United States that 200 million people drive cars, and a million violators are rounded up--that they just basically violate driving laws. Should we be worried for the 199 million people whose safety you must be concerned about or the one million violators? The law is for all, and it's law. And it must be enforced, of course. Of course, please do pay attention that in Iran nobody interferes in the private lives of individuals. We have nothing to do with the private realm of people. This is at the not private--public morality. In their own house? Nobody ever interferes with people.







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Originally published on Wednesday September 24, 2008.


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