AP 4 Sep 94 6:39 EDT V0242 1994. The Associated Press
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- A radical Iranian daily Sunday branded the U.N. population conference in Cairo an "inhuman and irreligious" plot by the United States and urged Islamic countries to wreck it.
The Farsi-language Jomhuri Islam said Washington's "main objective" is spreading "corruption and ... extramarital relations" to check population growth in the Muslim world because the Americans see Islam as the new threat to their security.
"If Islamic countries take part in the conference powerfully and adopt a unifed stance on the basis of Islamic principles, the U.S. will doubtless have no chance of achieving its objectives," the daily said.
The conference, which is expected to be attended by delegates from 150 countries, will debate several issues that much of the Islamic world finds offensive. These include premarital sex, abortion, family planning and homosexuality.
The objective is to curb the world's population growth rate.
The gathering has drawn wide condemnation from Muslim conservatives and the Vatican, which claim it will promote extramarital sex, promiscuity and "Western imperialistic values."
Iraq Saturday said it will boycott the conference, joining Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Lebanon.
But Tehran, despite its puritan Shiite Muslim makeup, is encouraging Islamic states to attend the conference in an effort to sabotage it.
The United States, "the staunch enemy of Islam, is attempting to control the Muslim population and, by spreading corruption among young people, is trying to turn the young intellectuals of Islamic society into idlers who only think of entertaining themselves," Jomhuri Islam said in an editorial.
"If we admit that the U.S. and its flunkies are following such an objective at the Cairo conference, it is therefore the duty of all Muslim countries and advocates of divine religions to enter the scene with all their might to thwart the inhuman and irreligious objectives of the U.S.," the daily concluded.
Pointing to Egypt's role in the conference, it said there was evidence "indicating that Cairo would try to act as a U.S. broker" at the gathering.
Egypt, it said, "will first try to prevent opposition by Islamic countries and will exert utmost efforts to attract the positive attention of those countries toward Washington's position."
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Tehran has sharply reversed its position on population control.
In 1988, it introduced widespread family planning and artificial birth control after earlier encouraging early marriage and large families in its drive to remodel the country as a beacon for the Islamic world.
Iran's population has doubled to more than 60 million in the last two decades and had been expected to reach an economically unsustainable 100 million around the year 2010.
According to government statistics, Iran's birth rate last July had fallen to 1.8 percent a year from a runaway 3.9 percent six years ago, one of the highest in the world.