Iran: Shocking number of early and forced marriages

East Azerbaijan Province leads the Iranian provinces in early marriages of girl children 10 to 15 years old, ranking second only to Khorassan Razavi Province, NE Iran.

Amir Taghizadeh, cultural and youth affairs deputy in the General Department of Youths and Sports in East Azerbaijan (NW Iran), said, “Parental coercion is the reason for marriage of girl children between 10 and 15 years of age.”

3,944 girls between 10 and 14 years old got married in 2015.  Most of these marriages took place in villages and rural areas. One year later, in 2016, this number reached 4,165 marriages.

The marriage age for girls in Zainub village is under 10.

Javidnia, the headman of Zeinub village, located 50 km from Tabriz (the capital of East Azerbaijan), says: “Here, girls’ marriages are official. For example, the girl gets engaged at the age of 10. A religious contract (Seigheh) is written (to sanction contacts between the couple), then when the girl reaches legal age, the same contract is registered. Some girls stay engaged for three years and some go to their new home after they are engaged.” (The state-run ISNA news agency- May 24, 2018)