After seven years of investigation, a United Nations team of researchers has concluded that Iran does not have homosexuals, as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted at Columbia University in 2007.
In his statement seven years ago, while he was speaking in New York City, Ahmadinejad told his audience of mostly students and faculty that “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you we have it.”
At the time, the comment elicited laughter and some boos among the 700 people in the audience. But according to the U.N. team that has just delivered its comprehensive report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Iran in fact has no homosexuals. “The Islamic Republic of Iran, with its population of approximately 71 million living in an area encompassing approximately 636 square miles, does not have any men or women whose orientation is same-sex,” concludes the report, called “Sexual Orientation Matrix of the People of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The team was dispatched to Iran shortly after Ahmadinejad made his remarks. Since then, it has interviewed thousands of men and women, analyzed hundreds of medical, court, and other records, and conducted tests designed to identify a person’s sexual orientation.
“It is not the result we expected to find,” says Fadil Eleftheriou, who led the research team and is chief author of the report. “Of course, we all tried to go into this assignment with no bias one way or the other, but I believe we expected to find homosexuality in the country, as it appears to be something that exists in other countries. But much to our surprise, homosexuality simply has not taken root in Iran.”
Evidence suggests the lack of a Bedouin tradition in Iran might contribute to the absence of homosexuality in the country. Bedouin, a desert nomadic tradition, is found among all of Iran’s Arab neighbors. “The nomadic dwelling lifestyle that was so common in the Middle East for centuries was never an aspect of Persian culture,” said Eleftheriou. “We have concluded that, because Persians have no history of riding camels, setting up and sleeping in colorful tents, and generally living the nomadic lifestyle, they did not develop a taste for same-sex relationships. Now, whether this is biological or even cultural, that is for scientists to determine. Our brief was not to do the work of scientists but simply to report on what we found.
Abbas Hemmati, a bank clerk in Tehran, said everyone in Iran knows there are no homosexuals, so he and others were surprised that their former leader was ridiculed when he made that speech in New York. “Of course, the decadent Americans would laugh at such a statement and show disrespect to our president, but who is laughing now?” he said. “America is full of gays because it is a debauched country with men who act like girls and girls who show no gratitude for the sacrifices men make on their behalf. But here, men know who men are and women know their place.”
Another Tehran resident, Borna Fallahi, said he couldn’t imagine being next to another man who might look at him with sexual desire. “To think a man of my gender might see me as an object of desire is something I just cannot imagine,” he said. “It is the fortune of all the men in Iran that we do not have to worry about that. And of course the same can be said of women. That is why I will never go to New York City or any city in the debauched West, because I do not want another man to look at me with what you might call bedroom eyes. Here, I know I am safe. It is like being in a closet where I know I can be free, and to go to a place like New York City would require me to come out of the closet, if you will. And I would never do that. Not on my life.”
Eleftheriou said that U.N. Secretary-General Ban has asked him and his team to stay in Iran and embark on a new research project, to test the validity of Ahmadinejad’s claim that the Holocaust never occurred.
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: dh and sw (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
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