Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants to "strengthen national identity" and that apparently translates into no vasectomies for men or women having their tubes tied.
Family planning in Iran is normal, Reuters reports, with condoms widely available. Now advertising birth control is illegal. Instead of state-funded birth control, the government will help finance fertility treatments.
The ayatollah has pushed for banning permanent birth control for months. Iran's parliament passed the measure; the Guardian Council, which the ayatollah appoints, must now decide if the law is in accordance with Islam.
A declining birth rate, which inevitably leads to a time when much of the population is elderly, is often problematic for countries. But considering Iran's track record on women's rights -- and the ayatollah's frank pronouncement that birth control is too Western -- this move spells bad news for women.
Illegal, unsafe abortions only tend to increase in the face of unwanted children and more children on the homefront means it's less likely women can work outside of the home.