TEHRAN — Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that homosexuality is "against the human spirit," the ILNA news agency reported.
In a 2007 speech at New York's Columbia University, he notoriously said "in Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country," skirting a question about the treatment of gays in the Islamic republic. infamously
He was met with howls and boos from the audience and his remarks were later widely criticised by rights groups.
Addressing officials in the city of Yazd on Thursday, he said: "They asked me (at Columbia) why you crack down on homosexuals in Iran? I answered we don't have so many homosexuals in Iran because we believe this act is against the human spirit and humanity."
Gay sex is banned and punishable by death under Iran's sharia-based law. Transvestites are also arrested in the country, where observing the Islamic dress code for women is mandatory.
However, the state allows sex-change operations for transsexuals.
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