Monday, 24 September 2007

Ahmadinejad: "No homosexuals in Iran"

Today, in a speech at a top US university in NY, asked about hostile treatment against homosexuals, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said that 'there are no gays in Iran':

"In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you that we have it."

Of course, you "don't have" homosexuals:


artmika said...


IGLHRC Deplores Denial of Iranian Homosexuals by President Ahmadinejad

September 24, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC Communications Coordinator,

(New York, Monday September 24, 2007) - Today, during a controversial talk at Columbia University's World Leaders Forum, Iranian President Dr. Mahmood Ahmadinejad categorically denied the existence of homosexuality in Iran: "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country.... We don't have that in our country," he said in response to a question about the rights of homosexuals.

Paula Ettelbrick, Executive Director at The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) expressed dismay at this response. "It is extremely unfortunate that the President of Iran, who used a prestigious academic forum to speak the "truth" about his country, nevertheless spoke so disingenuously about the human rights situation in Iran," said Ettelbrick. "The Iranian President's stark denial of our reality reflects his government's ongoing refusal to recognize the basic human rights of LGBT people. IGLHRC and other human rights organizations have documented widespread and systematic violations of the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Iran."

In preparation for today's forum, IGLHRC sent questions to the moderator, hoping that he would raise the issue of LGBT rights in Iran. IGLHRC expresses its gratitude to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and to the moderator, Professor Coatsworth, for addressing these issues. This was the first time that a sitting Iranian president had been confronted with a question about the mistreatment of the LGBT community in a public forum.

Ettelbrick further stated: "While some of our closest allies have protested Columbia's decision to provide President Ahmadinejad with a public forum, it was precisely because such a forum was created that he was challenged and held accountable for his policies." Despite President Ahmadinejad's denial of the existence of sexual minorities, IGLHRC recognizes that it was very important to challenge him on this issue. The skeptical laughter that President Ahmadinejad's response provoked from the audience suggests that it was far from convincing. This underscores the value of freedom of speech - the basis of all other human rights - for holding governments accountable for their actions.

The question raised by the moderator emphasized that the international community recognizes the plight of thousands of Iranian gay and lesbians, who are either forced into exile or face daily harassment through state-sanctioned discrimination because of their sexual identity. IGLHRC asks President Ahmadinejad to defend the rights of all Iran's citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, political opinion, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. IGLHRC hopes the Iranian President uses this opportunity to reflect upon the legitimate concerns of the international community about his government's domestic and international policies.


artmika said...

Iranian President's Official Website Deletes His Columbia University Commentary about Homosexuality

September 25, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC Communications Coordinator

(New York, Monday September 25, 2007) - Upon monitoring the Iranian press reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech and comments at the Monday forum hosted by Columbia University, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) discovered an odd disparity. The English version of the President's official website ( provides a full and complete transcript of his speech and the Question & Answer segment where he claimed that homosexuality does not exist in Iran. However, the Persian-language transcript has excised both the question about treatment of lesbians and gay men in Iran and President Ahmadinejad's soon to be legendary response.

The President's website purportedly provides the authoritative transcripts of his speeches and is relied upon by the news media in Iran. To date, not a single Persian-language media outlet in Iran - including Iran's official news agency, IRNA, and the semi-independent news agencies, ISNA, Mehrrnews and Farsnews, and the Wednesday morning newspapers - has reported on the President's comments.

After President Ahmadinejad's speech on Monday, the Professor John H. Coatsworth moderated a Question & Answer session. Among the questions was why Iran has executed citizens who are homosexuals, to which the President responded "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country. We don't have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it."

"The first reaction of many of us was to join in the astonished response to President Ahmadinejad's clearly outrageous view that no lesbian or gay people live in Iran," said Paula Ettelbrick, Executive Director of IGLHRC. "But the whitewashing of his comments from the eyes and ears of most Iranian citizens speaks to something more troubling. His denial attempts to simply erase from public view the lives of men and women who face regular abuse in his country. Perhaps he knows he could not credibly get away with such a denial among his own people."

IGLHRC has documented widespread and systemic violations of the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Iran. For more information about IGLHRC's work, visit: