Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 27, 2020—Lowering the age of marriage is one of the miserable and disastrous impacts of Iranian regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini and his reactionary and misogynist mullahs’ who rule Iran with an iron fist. In terms of flagrant rights violations against women and children, Iran under the mullahs’ regime has set such a record that Iranian girls and women nowadays are even in envy of far better circumstances in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and numerous Persian Gulf states.
The mullahs have for some time endorsed a “marriage loan” to further promote their backwardness and cruel views of the country’s women and girls. However, aside from the substantial and theoretical opposition to this approach based on humanitarian, moral, religious and public human rights principals, its disastrous and criminal impact is practically evident as well. There is no doubt that years and decades later the Iranian society will continue to suffer from its severe damages.
In this piece we review the criminal, mental and spiritual aspects of this “legal crime” against half of Iran’s population.
History of Iran’s legal marriage age
The following is an excerpt from a report on the semi-official ISNA news agency:
“In 1931, for the first time the Iranian civil code raised the issue of each couple’s corporal ability. Then for the first time in 1934, the minimum age of marriage was discussed based on article 1041 of the civil code. Accordingly, 15 solar years had been determined as the minimum appropriate age for girls’ marriage and 18 solar years for boys. Girls marriage between 13 to 15 years and boys between 15 to 18 years depended upon approval by a court. By ratifying the Family Support Act, years later in 1974 according to article 23, the obligatory minimum age increased to 18 years for women and 20 years for men, and girls’ marriage of age between 15 to 18 years depended upon approval by a court.”
This report adds: “In 1982 sections of the Civil Code had been modified, including article 1210 in which the childhood age was changed to the legal adulthood age, that is to say nine lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys. Moreover, under the circumstances, article 1041 has been changed and the minimum age for marriage is lowered to nine lunar age for girls and 15 lunar age for boys. Following many disputes, oppositions and public backlash regarding these reactionary laws, in 2002 the minimum legal age of marriage was increased to 13 years for girls and 15 years for boys. However, based on the permission of parents and on the condition of court expediency.”
Article 1041 was once again challenged in 2017 in the regime’s Majlis (parliament). Under an amendment introduced to the parliament, matrimony before 16 solar years for girls and 18 solar years for boys was forbidden, and matrimony between 13 to 16 years for girls and 16 to 18 years for boys was only authorized on the condition of parents’ permission and a court’s recognition, and based on a coroner’s approval to provide for a marriage. However, in 2018 this proposal was rejected by the Majlis’ Legal and Judiciary Committee, the mentioned report added.
The theoretical and conceptual basics of the current Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and this regime’s reactionary mullahs regarding humanitarian and social rights are so disastrous and criminal that one could not discuss it in public media.
Regulations, theories and fatwas of the most reactionary mullahs in Iran concerning children and women are clear criteria of oppression, injustice and cruelty in disguise of so-called religious and legal pretexts. Over the past 40 years of this regime’s rule and due to their disastrous economic policies, Iran’s poor and destitute groups are forced to misuse their children as a means of sustenance and resort to the mullahs’ regulations as an excuse to this legal crime. Children who need support, cautious and responsible care are now becoming mothers at a dangerously early age.
Bitter context of child marriage
There is no doubt that no child wants to go to a man’s house of her father or her grandfather’s age, and to do housekeeping and babysit instead of playing with toys and children of her age, going to school, learning and receiving necessary education. However, the domination of this regime’s so-called culture and Iranian families’ destituteness force these children into a disastrous destiny.
Iranian families are facing such a dire and harrowing circumstances, combined with horrible destitute and poverty. As a result, such marriages for their children does not take place in its appropriate age and this creates a situation in which the loans provided to facilitate such marriages cause a phenomenon of where families are literally “trading” their daughters.
Last year, one of the state-run outlets published a shocking report on marriage loan and children being traded. A December 31, 2019, report wired by the regime’s official IRNA news agency reads: “With marriage loan rising to 300 million rials (around $2,250) in 2019, the rate of child marriages and children matrimony under the age of 15 have quadrupled in some areas of the country and families practically are selling their daughters to receive this loan. A year’s tally of divorced girls under the age of 13, registered in the Center of Statistics, indicates an increase in the phenomenon of child marriage, and this will have horrible impacts in the future, according to various experts.”
A report published by the state-run Arman-e Melli daily reads in part: “The Central Bank’s statistics confirm the fact that the number of people under the age of 15 seeking marriage loans has increased by nearly 70 times in comparison to 2018. Furthermore, the number of loan requestees has risen by about 90 times in the first five months of this year. Over the last decade approximately 400,000 girls under the age of 15 have married”.
Rise in selling girls due to marriage loan
The Tabnak website, affiliated to former Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) chief Mohsen Rezaie, ran a report on October 11 quoting Iranian regime Vice President Maasoomeh Ebtekar. “From our point of view, reaching mental adulthood is adequate for marriage. However, individuals under the age of 13 are children and marriage at such an age leads to numerous physical, mental and psychological consequences. In the current code there is no minimum age for marriage,” she admitted. “Although in an amendment it has been conditioned upon a judge’s consideration and an expert’s opinion. However, from our consideration there are some problems in terms of child marriage, and it is evident from the tally of 30,000 marriages under the age of 14. Specifically, an increase in the marriage loan amount could unintentionally lead to the trade of girls and children under the pretext of marriage,” Ebtekar added.
Increasing rate of buying and selling marriage loans
The regime’s marriage loan has caused very disgraceful incidents. On December 29, 2019, the semi-official ILNA news agency reported: “Websites offering to sell loans are fraught with ‘600 million rial marriage loans’ (around $4,500 at the time) and in most cases, you are denied any direct contact with the sellers.”
Most of the sellers are from the country’s poor regions and evade answering if you ask about their age class, only responding that they are of legal age so their matrimonies are legal and lawful in order to fit the loan criteria. One such seller is a bride’s father and explains that his daughter and groom could manage with the remaining 300 million. He did not cite his girl’s age and just said she surely could espouse so he married her off. The groom said that he is not able to pay the 600 million loan installments and he would sell it as a result.
Children, the innocent victims
This is just a tip of the iceberg in Iran. In the regime’s literature one faces terms like working children, child marriage and even “rental children.” These are all the result of this reactionary establishment.
In one word: Iran’s society is on the edge of disintegration thanks to the mullahs’ regime. Its socio-economic and cultural substructures have lost their integrity and balance. An increasing number of sociologists are saying Iran’s societal foundation is dissolving. And unfortunately, the first victims of this collapse are innocent Iranian children.