One of the most tragic and catastrophic effects of the Islamic Republic’s era in Iran has been lowering the legal age of marriage. The Iranian government has snatched the lead from other authoritarian regimes in the gross violation of the rights of children and women, such that today Iranian girls and women look to the much better conditions in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and even the Persian Gulf countries.
For some time now, the state has been using the marriage loan scheme to facilitate its backward and oppressive thoughts towards the children and women of this country. However, apart from the principled and theoretical opposition of this approach to human, moral, religious, and universal human rights principles, its catastrophic and criminal effect is also seen in the practical field, which the Iranian society will undoubtedly suffer from the damage of it for years and decades.
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Here we show some of the effects of this ‘legal crime’ on the body and soul of half of the Iranian people:
History of Marriage Age Laws in Iran
“In 1931, the Civil Code introduced physical talent for couples for the first time in articles. After that, in 1934, in Article 1041 of the Civil Code, the issue of minimum age was discussed for the first time. According to this article, 15 years for girls and 18 years for boys was the minimum age for marriage,” the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on May 13.
“The marriage of girls between the ages of 13 and 15 and the marriage of boys between the ages of 15 and 18 were also made conditional by the court. Years later, with the enactment of Family Protection in 1974, in accordance with Article 23, the minimum age for marriage for girls was increased to 18 years and for boys to 20 years; and marriage between 15 and 18 years for girls was conditional on a court order,” ISNA added.
In the same report, it is stated that back in 1982, some parts of the civil law were amended; Including Article 1210, which changed the age of childhood to the age of legal maturity. That means 9 lunar years for girls and 15 years for boys. Accordingly, Article 1041 was changed, and the minimum age for marriage was 9 lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys.
After much debate on this issue and public opposition and reactions to these reactionary laws, in 2002 the minimum legal age for marriage for girls reached 13 years and for boys 15 years; with the permission of the parents and, subject to expediency, at the discretion of the court.
In practice, the law led to major legal, social, and family problems, and measures were taken to amend it, but the clerics and governmental institutions prevented its changes.
In 2017, Article 1041 was once again challenged in the Parliament (Majlis). “According to the amendment submitted to the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis), the marriage of a girl before the age of 16 and a boy before the age of 18 was prohibited; Marriage between the ages of 13 and 16 in girls and 16 to 18 in boys was subject to the permission of the legal guardian and a court order, provided they were physically able to marry with a forensic opinion. However, this plan was rejected in 2018 by the Legal and Judicial Commission of the Islamic Consultative Assembly,” ISNA wrote.
The intellectual foundations and public views of the current ruling system in the human and social spheres are so catastrophic and criminal that it cannot even be fully recounted in public media.
During more than 40-year history of the Islamic Republic, the poor and impoverished sections of the society, as a result of the state’s miserable economic policies, have been forced to abuse their children as a means of livelihood and use the laws and facilities donated by the clerical government as a pretext for this legal crime.
No child would want to go to the house of a man the same age as her father and grandfather and marry and have children instead of playing with her peers and toys and going to school and gaining the necessary knowledge and education during this period. but the domination of the religious fascism’s culture in Iran and the poverty and deprivation of the family have led these little children to such a catastrophic fate.
The Future of Iran and Its Children Is in Danger
The living and economic situation of families in Iran is so unhealthy, depressing, and mingled that the family is not anymore able to meet the right marriage age, and this has led the government to provide loans to facilitate the early marriage, and this misguided strategy led to the sale and purchase of girls from poor families who, for little money, who became accomplices to crimes against their children.
Last year, the official IRNA news agency made a shocking report on the relationship between marriage loans and child trafficking. “With the increase in marriage loans to 30 million tomans in 2019, the number of children spouses and marriages of children under 15 has quadrupled in some parts of the country, and some families are actually selling their daughters to receive these loans. Statistics released by the Civil Registration Organization on the divorce of girls under the age of 13 show an increase in the phenomenon of child marriage in the country, and experts believe that this will have dire consequences in the future,” IRNA on December 31, 2019.
Furthermore, Arman-e Meli paper provided unexpected details, indicating how many children are in queues for marriage loans. “Statistics from the Central Bank also confirm this, and the number of applicants under the age of 15 for marriage loans in 2018, compared to the previous year, 2016, has increased about 70 times. Also, in the first five months of this year, the number of marriage loan applicants for people under 15 has increased almost 90 times compared to 2017. In the last decade, nearly 400,000 girls under the age of 15 have been married off in Iran,” Arman-e-Meli wrote on the same date.
On October 11, Massoumeh Ebtekar, President Hassan Rouhani’s deputy for Women and Family Affairs, expressed her concerns over the physical and psychological cons of children’s marriage.
“In our view, reaching the intellectual maturity of marriage is sufficient, but under 13 years it is really a child and has many physical and psychological consequences. In the current law, we do not have a base for the age of marriage, although in the notes it is restricted to the opinion of the judge and the experts, but in our opinion, there are problems in the field of child-marriage, which is evidenced by the statistics of 30,000 marriages under the age of 14 in one year. In particular, an increase in the number of marriage loans can inadvertently cause the sale and purchase of girls and children as marriages,” Tabnak website quoted Ebtekar as saying.
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Marriage Loans Are Very Embarrassing Events
“Lending websites are also full of 60 million marriage loans. Many of these sites do not allow you to talk directly with the seller. Most of the sellers are from the deprived areas of the country. If you are asking about their age class, they evade and respond that their marriage is legal and that they have been granted a marriage loan,” semi-official ILNA news agency wrote on December 29, 2019.
“One of the sellers is the father of the bride and says: His daughter and son-in-law start their business with the remaining 30 million. He does not say the age of his daughter and suffices as to say that ‘she could certainly have married the husband’, I gave her away. The groom says he cannot afford the 60 million loan installments, so he wants to sell her,” ILNA concluded.