According to birth statistics published by Iran’s National Organization for Civil Registration, in the first half of the Iranian year 1400 (March 20–October 6, 2021) girls between 10 and 14 years of age gave birth to 791 children. ISNA reports that these figures are preliminary and may well increase. The state of Sistan and Baluchistan saw the greatest number of births to girls under the age of 15, with 248 such births. Khuzestan saw 92 such births.
In February, the Statistical Center of Iran published a report on the societal and cultural situation in the country which stated that, in the summer of 2020, a total of 9,058 marriages involving girls between the ages of 10 and 14 were registered. According to the report, the marriage of girls in this age range increased compared to the previous year.
According to Iranian law, the minimum age of marriage for girls is 13, while for boys it is 15, but marriage for girls younger than 13 is not completely prohibited and is subject to the permission of the girl’s guardian or the courts. The women’s group in the 10th Majles (2016–20) proposed a complete ban on the marriage of girls under the age of 13 and an increase in the minimum age for marriage, but their proposal was rejected by the Judiciary Commission for religious reasons and because it was deemed to be “imitating the designs of the West.”
Experts on Iranian human rights issues emphasize that the physical and psychological harm caused to girls when they are married at such a young age can do irreparable damage, ranging from maternal mortality to dropping out of education, staying trapped in a cycle of poverty, depression, and suicide.