hrw-iran-asylumIran: The Iranian Ministry of Education has reported widespread same-sex relations among youth in the country even though laws punish gay people with death.

The ministry’s 82-page report for 2007 and 2008 shows 17.5 percent of male and female high school students across Iran admit to being gay, reports

That’s 24,889 of a survey of 141,552 young men and women even though same-sex relations can be punished by death in Iran, it added.

The report also admits almost all Iranian high school students are breaking sexual laws with about  74 percent admitting to having engaged in ‘heterosexual relations,’ which are also a crime as sex outside marriage is considered to be adultery and illegal.

Titled “Temporary Marriage and its Impact on Lowering Illegitimate Sexual Contacts,” the report in Persian now appears on the Iranian Parliament’s website.

Statistics for the report were collated around the same time when the then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said there were no gay people in his country.

Speaking through an interpreter at the Columbia University in 2007 he said “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals” a remark that at that time led to some guffaw and much controversy.

A spokesperson later claimed that what the president meant to say was that Iran doesn’t have a gay culture like that in the US.

Iran’s authoritarian Islamic regime consistently enforces anti-gay repression and homophobia that remain codified in law.

Iranian law criminalizes any consensual same-sex relations with punishment ranging from 100 lashes between women and the death penalty for those between two men. The Islamic Penal Code also criminalizes same-sex touching and intimate kissing, which are punishable by up to 74 lashes.

The United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, published a scathing indictment of violence against LGBT Iranians last October and has chastised Iran’s authorities for meting out harsh punishments even for “illicit relationships and nonpenetrative homosexual acts.”