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Children of the Revolution: 'Ali Khamene'i's 'Liberal' Views on in vitro Fertilization

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While commentators on Iran often present a dichotomy between 'liberal' reformists, on the one hand, and conservatives, on the other, reality is more complex. This article analyses the views of one, paradigmatic conservative, Ayatollah 'Ali Khamene'i, the current Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, on medical ethics, in particular on artificially assisted reproduction. Khamene'i's views in this field are strikingly, indeed uniquely, unrestrictive: he alone, of all major Islamic authorities, allows artificial insemination by donor, for instance. While 'liberal' may not quite be the apposite description of his opinions here, a consideration of them should serve to problematize the terms in which the opposition between 'liberals' and 'conservatives' is usually cast.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2007

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