- Sunday, 04 July 2010 18:00
Tehran, Jul. 04 - Nearly a million Iranian children - mostly girls - are married due to provisions in Iran's Islamic marriage laws which allow the existence of child wives, according to an official with knowledge of the matter.
"Official sources put the number of child spouses in the country at between 900,000 to 950,000. This violates the international Convention on the Rights of the Child", Mohammad Bonyazadeh, a member of the Cultural Association in Support of Working Children, told the semi-official news agency ILNA on Thursday.
Children as young as 15 can legally go into full-time employment in Iran, Bonyazadeh said.
"On the one hand the law recognises anyone under the age of 11 as a child, who lacks the thinking capacity, wisdom, and decision-making ability to vote in an election, but on the other hand it defines the legal age for marriage as 9 (for girls) and 13 (for boys)", he said, adding that the legal age for voting in Iran is in line with international standards.
"Unfortunately, instead of enjoying their youth, playing sports and getting some education, the country's young girls who are married, are forced to play the role of a wife and accept all its difficult responsibilities, such as running household chores. This dangerous experience forced upon the children at this age has many dire and harmful repercussions on them and even on their children".