Sex between unmarried partners is pretty popular in the Islamic Republic of Iran – and a strikingly high number say they are homosexual, according to an official government report.
Iran's parliamentary research department recently released an 82-page report on the subject, according to The Economist
, finding that 80 percent of unmarried females have boyfriends. That includes high school students.
Since the 1979 revolution that brought Ayotollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power, Iran has been under sharia law, the strict Islamic religious rule headed by a religious "supreme leader." But it is an open secret that Iranians live as they please.
The report does not recommend young Iranians abstain from sex, instead suggesting they register their relationship using sigheh, an ancient practice of temporary marriage that can last for as little as a few hours.
In another surprising aspect of the study, 17 percent said they are homosexual. If true, the percentage of the gay population in Iraq is far higher than that of the United States.
About 3.5 percent of Americans identify as either gay or bisexual.
Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad drew laughs during a 2007 U.S. visit
when he told students at Columbia University there are no homosexuals in his country.
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