Larry King quizzes
gays in Iran
U.S. TV interviewer Larry King quizzed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his nation's treatment of gays Sept. 23.
There have been persistent, though unconfirmed, reports for years that Iran hangs men for the crime of engaging in gay sex.
King said: 'People ( are ) protesting that they don't have the same rights as other people. Homosexuals—you said last year, you denied there were homosexuals ( in Iran ) . There's homosexuals everywhere.'
Ahmadinejad replied: 'I said it's not the way it is here ( in the U.S. ) . 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 interjected, 'So what happens to gay people?'
Ahmadinejad replied: '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 and they just basically violate driving laws. Should we be worried for the 199 million people whose safety we must be concerned about or the one million violators? The law is the law and it's law. And it must be enforced. Of course, we 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 ( level of ) not-private, public morality. In their own house, nobody ever interferes with people.'
Last year, during a speech at Columbia University in New York City, Ahmadinejad also was asked about the nation's treatment of gay people.
He responded: 'We in Iran ... don't have hamjensbaz ( a derogatory term for homosexuals ) like you have in your country. In our country, there is no such a thing. In Iran, such a thing does not—in Iran, in Iran, absolutely such a thing does not exist as a phenomenon. I don't know who told you otherwise.'
Iran is known to have executed several teens and men accused of engaging in sodomy, although in nearly all the cases that have been publicized in recent years the individuals were accused of other crimes as well, such as rape.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has said it suspects that other charges often are tacked onto sodomy cases to prevent the public outrage that would accompany executions carried out solely for the crime of consensual adult gay sex. The group also has said it believes executions solely for gay sex are taking place out of the public eye.
'Our suspicions ( are ) that their current practice really is to rid society of lesbians and gay men,' the organization said last year.
Human Rights Watch, on the other hand, has said it cannot fully document any executions in Iran in recent years carried out solely for the crime of consensual adult gay sex.