Violence against women in Iran
Child marriage means rape. When a grown man marries a child, he abuses that child. Marriage must be after the end of puberty; otherwise, it can have no meaning other than rape.
These are some of the statements made by Sima Ferdowsipour, a psychologist and university professor in Tehran. She considers the best age for marriage for girls to be 21 years old and above. She added that marriage under the age of 20 should be banned due to its dangerous effects (The state-run Khabarfori.ir – July 29, 2021).
Half a million underage marriages per year
Ali Kazemi, a legal advisor to the clerical regime’s Judiciary, had previously acknowledged that “an average of 500,000 to 600,000 Iranian girls under the age of 14 get married every year.” (The state-run Entekhab.ir newspaper – March 4, 2019)
Mohammad Mehdi Tondgouyan, Deputy Minister of Youth, said that the annual number of early marriages in Iran has increased due to increased marriage loan amounts.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of underage marriages, especially among girls under the age of 13,” he announced (The state-run ILNA news agency – July 6, 2021).
“This is the tip of the iceberg of statistics related to early marriage. The actual number of children married is 5 to 6 times the announced number,” said Mohammad Reza Mahboubfar, a social harms expert (The state-run ROKNA News Agency – July 25, 2021).
In yet another interview, Mahboubfar asserted, “Presently, 100 marriages of girls under 15 years old take place every 24 hours. It is estimated that by the end of the year, some 40,000 early marriages take place this year” (The state-run Arman-e Melli newspaper – July 27, 2021)
A glance at the statistics
The National Statistics Center of Iran announced that 9,753 young girls between 10 and 14 were married in spring 2021. (The state-run ISNA news agency – November 22, 2021)
During the same period, 45,522 girls between 15 and 19 years old were also married.
Young girls between 10 to 14 years old gave birth to 969 infants, and young women between 15 and 19 years old gave birth to 44,896 infants.
The National Statistics Center also recorded 364 childbirths among mothers under 15 in the summer of 2020 (the state-run Hamdeli newspaper – August 24, 2021) and 1,364 births from under-15 mothers throughout the year. (The state-run ROKNA news agency – August 20, 2021).
Child mothers grow in numbers as child marriage is encouraged in Iran. The Sistan and Baluchestan Province tops the provinces in child marriages.
The marriages of over 9,000 girl children between 10 to 14 in spring 2021 show a 32% increase compared to the same period last year.
Seventy percent (70%) of child marriages end up in divorce (The state-run ROKNA news agency – July 27, 2021).
Fatemeh Zolghadr, a former member of the Majlis, said many families decide to marry off their underage children as a means of reducing family expenses amid economic poverty. Unfortunately, the end of this tragedy is the rising number of divorced children. In several cases, divorced children have run away from home or attempted suicide, leading to severe injuries (The state-run Khabarfori website –August 2, 2021).
Child marriage in Iran is not a cultural issue
Child marriage in Iran is not a cultural issue. It has become a social catastrophe due to the policies of the mullahs’ regime. The Iranian regime has refused to ban or criminalize early marriages. Contrarily, child marriage is encouraged under the mullahs. Rampant poverty –an outcome of the clerical regime’s plunder of the national wealth– further contributes to this misogynous phenomenon.