Iranian men chat as their children play on the swings at a play ground in Tehran on December 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / BEHROUZ MEHRI
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Late in 2013, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Iran risked becoming a land of elderly people in the "not too distant" future and suggested smaller families were "an imitation of Western life".The Iranian parliament has recently debated two bills that would, says Amnesty International, reduce women to "baby-making machines".Iran is often wrongly described as a country of young people. While 35 percent of Iran's 75 million population is between the ages of 15 and 29, the world's highest recorded percentage in this age group, it has a relatively low and falling number of people under the age of 25 . This results from a "baby boom" after the 1979 Revolution, when the birth rate rose to 3.6 children per couple, and a subsequent fall to 1.8 per couple after 1988, when the state encouraged family planning through countrywide education and free or subsidized vasectomies and contraceptives. Between 1996 and 2006, Iran's working population (15-64) grew by 3.9 percent, over twice the overall increase in population.In 2013, Adel Azar, head of Iran's Statistics Organization, said that within three years 10 percent of the population would be over 65 .Its implications for Iran could be far-reaching.
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