On November 5, Iranian and international media reported that 32 Iranian parliamentarians had introduced a bill to make it an offence to keep animals as pets. The proposed legislation stipulates that bringing dogs and monkeys into public places “violates Islamic culture and harms the peace and the health of people,” particularly for women and children. Individuals who buy or sell these types of pets or keep them in their homes will be liable to prosecution and a cash fine equaling between 10 to 100 million rials [around $380 to $3,800] and a punishment of up to 74 lashes. The legislation would also allow the animals to be confiscated.
The taken animals will be transferred to a zoo or released into the wild; pet owners will be required to cover the expenses for their confiscated pet until such a transfer takes place. There is also a press freedom implication to the bill: any media outlet that publishes articles about dog walking or playing with dogs could face prosecution. If the legislation is passed, the Ministry of Health will be required to draw up a list of animals deemed to be “unclean” or “dangerous to public health” within six months. The bill exempts those who use dogs as part of their work, including police officers, sheep herders and hunters in possession of a permit.
IranWire talked to Ahmad Salek, one of the MPs sponsoring the bill.
Mr. Salek, you are sponsoring a bill that would ban people from walking their dogs in public, and from keeping pets at home. Can you say why you are supporting the bill?
In the name of God. Our Islamic Revolution is based on religious, divine and humane values. This revolution is really a cultural, religious revolution. Therefore, religious values must be conveyed in society. In the 35 years since the revolution, we have confronted many problems through conveying strong values. This bill is part of this. In fact, it is in line with what the exalted Supreme Leader says about promoting an Islamic way of life and avoiding a Western lifestyle. Look, people who keep dogs do not believe in these values. They don’t get enough affection, are lonely or want to imitate Europeans and a Western way of life. Naturally this behavior is not appropriate for the social environment of our cities.
Over the last 35 years, there has been substantial promotion of religious values and how they apply to people. Why do you think some people still want to follow a Western lifestyle?
Cyberspace and foreign media — radio stations and websites — try to teach people many things, including association with dogs. Some people in Iran are influenced by these teachings and think that keeping animals such as dogs will give them peace. This belief is very wrong.
So the main reason for proposing the bill is to encourage people to avoid a Western lifestyle?
No, there are other reasons. For example, health reasons. When animals live at people’s homes it is natural that they pollute them and transmit diseases. The second reason is religious. A person who owns such an animal cannot pray, because when a dog’s hair sticks to their clothing, that clothing is unclean.
According to critics, the Koran does not deem dogs to be unclean. There is no mention of it anywhere in the Koran.
Who says these things? These sentiments come from foreign media. The most credible and official sources of jurisprudence for lay people are the pamphlets published by fully qualified sources of emulation. Arriving at the rules of jurisprudence is a specialist endeavor like law, medicine or engineering and requires years of study. Islamic jurists agree that dogs are unclean. There is no disagreement on this.
If your bill become law, people who take dogs to public places will be fined and face up to 74 lashes. Do you think these punishments will be enforced?
Punishments are preventive. People will try to change their behavior. Of course, the bill is just on the table at the moment and has not yet been approved.
Why do you and other MPs feel it is necessary to punish the media?
Some domestic media outlets are influenced by foreign propaganda and produce content that is not appropriate for the Islamic Republic. They promote this unconsciously. If a punishment is stipulated, then they will smarten up and not fall into the trap set by foreigners.
The authorities will have to come up with a list of banned animals within three months of the bill’s passage. What kind of animals are going to be on the list?
Whatever the animal it has no place in a home. For example, a dog should be kept in a field or in a police station or next to a herd, not in a tiny apartment in violation of hygiene standards and religious beliefs. There are other kinds of animals as well. For example, I have heard that some people keep lizards at home. Animals that are religiously unclean, threaten health or disrupt people’s peace will be added to the list.
Another comment from another dipshit!