Iran’s regime wants to ban pets: “Cats and dogs are unclean”

Parliament studied the ban on pets (Getty)

The Islamic Republic of Iran has had a complex relationship with pets over the years, but now directly challenges its ban by considering animals such as “dangerous” and “unclean” dogs and cats.

“Animals cause a gradual change in the Iranian and Islamic way of life and substitute love and sentimental ties between people for that of animals,” reads a draft law sent this month to Iran’s Parliament.

The project of the “Law of Public Protection against Dangerous and Harmful Animals” proposes the prohibition of “the import, reproduction, breeding, sale or transport of dangerous and dirty animals”, in addition to their presence in public spaces.

Dangerous animals include crocodiles, turtles, snakes, chameleons, rats, rabbits, and monkeys. But also other more common ones like dogs and cats.

If the text were approved, those actions would be fined with amounts between 10 and 30 times the country’s minimum wage and the confiscation of the animals.

The law allows certain organizations, such as the Police, pharmaceutical laboratories and the Armed Forces, among others, to have animals.

And it establishes that if a person wants a dog or a cat, they can request a special permit at the tax office of each province, which will “investigate” the requests.


The 75 parliamentarians – out of a total of 295 from the hemicycle – who have presented the legislation They argue that animals spread disease, “create impurities”, cause “psychological damage”, “stress” and “damage the spirit of people”, among other issues.

And is that Islam considers dogs, man’s best friend in some countries, impure animals.

It is an “essential nayes” for this religion, that is, its contact leaves the Muslim in a state of impurity that prevents him from fulfilling his religious rites.

Sweat, saliva and dog hair “make people dirty” and make the sentence “invalid”, according to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Wednesday.  EFE / EPA / IRANIAN LEADER'S OFFICE / HANDOUT
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Wednesday. EFE / EPA / IRANIAN LEADER’S OFFICE / HANDOUT

The late Ayatollah Ruholah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, claimed even in the 1980s that a building built on land where a dog urinated or passed by will be unclean.

Despite this, in more modern urban centers, such as the wealthier northern Tehran neighborhoods, the number of citizens walking their pets has increased in recent years.

This increase in dogs in the streets has caused clashes between the mayor of the Iranian capital and dog lovers with the authorities trying to prevent dogs from being taken for a walk, although there are no laws prohibiting it.

The response to the proposed legislation ranges from approval by the more conservative to anger by the less religious or irony.

“In my opinion, it doesn’t make any sense,” Maryam Talaí, an animal activist and owner of a shelter for dogs in Tehran, told EFE. “I do not know why a group of parliamentarians dedicate their time and people’s money to address this issue instead of solving the problems of the country,” he continues.

The actress Hanieh Tavassoli opted for irony with a photo of her cat on Instagram with the dedication “my dangerous darling” in reference to the legislation. The post received more than 60,000 “likes” and attracted almost 1,500 comments.

For its part, the Veterinary Association described the law as anti-animalistic. “The text of the law is anti-animalistic and goes beyond the customs and religious laws,” according to the association.


The growing fondness for animals of some citizens of Tehran can be seen in the café Museo del Gato Persa, an establishment where in addition to pizzas and salads you can enjoy the company of kittens.

On its second and third floors, 27 cats, of different types, rest in the sun or allow themselves to be caressed by visitors.

The site, which opened just before the coronavirus pandemic began, receives about 100 visitors a day, attracted by animals, especially women or families with children.

One of them is Shadí Aydarí, a 20-year-old girl who comes here often because her parents don’t allow her to have a cat at home. “That law is wrong, it seems exaggerated and very harsh. I don’t see any problem with people wanting to have pets, ”he says in the building full of cats.

With information from EFE


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