The President of Iran claims he was misrepresented by Western media when he was quoted as saying that there are no gays in Iran. A presidential aide now says that he simply meant not as many as in the United States.

Last month, PinkNews.co.uk quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reply to a question posed about homosexuality during his speech at New York’s Columbia University as: “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country… In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don’t know who has told you that we have it.”

Presidential media adviser Mohammad Kalhor today said: “What Ahmadinejad said was not a political answer. He said that, compared to American society, we don’t have many homosexuals,”

Kalhor told Reuters that due to historical, religious and cultural differences homosexuality was less prevalent in Iran and the Islamic world than in the West.

In August a newspaper, Shargh, was shut down for printing an interview with a lesbian poet, Saghi Ghahreman.

In July 2005, two gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were executed sparking protests around the world.