A children’s rights official said the number of Iran’s child marriages was three times higher than official statistics.
The Statistical Center of Iran said on August 20 that the marriage of girls between 10 to 14 years of age had increased by 10.5% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Speaking to the ISNA state-run News Agency, the Secretary of the National Authority of the Convention of the Rights of the Child said the marriage of children under 13 was prevalent in Iran.
“Some families marry their children before the age of 13 without official registration,” Mahmoud Abbasi said.
Abbasi claimed that these families “took advantage” of Iran’s laws and went to court to get marriage licenses for their children after the marriage. According to the laws of the Islamic Republic, families must get permission from the court to marry girls under 13 years of age.
Abbasi said the reason behind the prevalence of Iran’s child marriages was “cultural and economic poverty”. The child rights official said poverty-stricken families marry off their children in exchange for 1 million tomans (around 37USD).
Abbasi, who is also the Deputy Judicial Minister of Human Rights and International Affairs said Iran was questioned on the international level on the practice of child marriages.
He said that in 2015 while he was at the United Nations, Denmark’s representative asked him “why a 70-year-old man was able to get engaged to a baby who was still in the crib” in Iran. According to Abbasi even if the man was punished for the engagement, the marriage would not be revoked.
“Relevant officials must prevent child marriages by providing solutions,” he added.
According to the report, medical examiners, charged with checking whether a child under 13 was fit for marriage, take into consideration physical maturity rather than mental maturity when approving child marriages in some provinces.
The Secretary of the National Authority of the Convention of the Rights of the Child said drafting and approving comprehensive bills to protect children’s rights was necessary to eliminate inconsistencies in current laws.
The Iranian regime encourages child marriage and Iran’s Parliament has refused to approve the “child spouse” bill which would amend current laws that allow families to force their children, mostly girls, into marriage. The bill, introduced into parliament in 2016, proposes an absolute ban on the marriage of girls under age 13 and an absolute ban on the marriage of boys under 16. For the marriage of girls between the ages of 13-16 and for boys between the ages of 16-18, the bill would require parental consent and court permission. Marriage for girls over 16 and for boys over 18 would require no court permission.