Battle Continues To Criminalise Underage Marriage In Iran

Iran’s vice president for Women and Family Affairs is renewing a push to pass legislation against underage marriage in Iran.

“We see cases in which girls under 13 are forced to marry,” Masoumeh Ebtekar, told ISNA news agency.

In December, President Hassan Rouhani’s government introduced a bill to the Islamic Consultative Assembly, Iran’s parliament to entirely ban marriage for girls under 13 and boys under 16.

However, the parliament rejected the bill under the reasoning that, in countries like France, it is possible to marry at 15.

“Our aim is not to push the marriage age higher or lower,” Ebtekar said.

“Why should a girl under 13, who is considered a child and has no social rights [as adults], carry the heavy responsibility of marriage? Is this acceptable in the 21 st century in the name of Islamic law?”

The news came just as Ebtekar’s predecessor during Rouhani’s first term, Shahindokht Molaverdi, expressed regret for being unable to pass “even one bill” about women in Iran’s parliament.

“My team worked on introducing several bills to the parliament, but all in vain,” Molaverdi told IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, placing the blame on conservatives for blocking such proposals.

“When I was first appointed, I thought we will take this golden opportunity to rain down women’s rights bills on the parliament. After a while, I learnt that was not an easy task due to challenges and obstacles.”

Molaverdi, an outspoken critic of hardliners and an ex-adviser to Iran’s president on human rights, was forced to resign after a law was passed by the Iranian parliament banning retirees from governmental posts.

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