It's True, or a more balanced response is needed
The above legal references are not the full interpretations neither of the legality or the commonality of the force marriage practice in Iran. Not only is it acceptable; it's on the rise and has been condemned by the UN and other Human Rights groups.
Newsweek found Link
A United Nations panel warned on Thursday of a rising number of young girls forced into marriage in Iran, calling on the Islamic republic to carry out stringent reforms on laws that allow girls as young as nine to wed.
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said that Tehran must “repeal all provisions that authorize, condone or lead to child sexual abuse” and called for the age of sexual consent to be increased from nine years old to 16.
The panel said that Iran “allows sexual intercourse with girls as young as nine lunar years and that other forms of sexual abuse of even young children is not criminalized.” The minimum age of marriage in Iran is also nine years old, according to The Independent.
The office of the UN Special Rapporteur on Slavery stipulates that forced marriage is a form of modern slavery. But Justice for Iran says that “while in Iran the minimum age for marriage is set at 13, pending a judge’s permission, fathers or paternal relatives can marry their children at any age.”
According to research conducted by the group, which covers 2006-2007 and 2013-2014, the rate of marriage for girls below 15 years of age is on the rise. Statistics published by Iran’s National Organization for Civil Registration reveal that, between March and December 2013, more than five percent of married females were below the age of 15. The same figures reveal that, among the registered marriages in Iran, more than one third of women were below the age of 19.
Iranian law sets the minimum age for marriage at 13 for girls and 15 for boys. But getting around this is not difficult. By obtaining a court order that certifies a child’s “maturity”, a father has the right to marry off a daughter or a son at any age, even when they’re babies. Maturity is assessed by a court-appointed doctor, followed by the child being asked a few questions by a court representative. The process differs from court to court and appointed judges usually adhere to the traditions and norms of the local area that particular court serves.
According to Girls not Brides
Although little data is available on child marriage in Iran, UNICEF estimates that approximately 17% of girls there are married before the age of 18. The numbers may be even higher as many families in Iran do not register births or underage marriages.
According to Iran’s Association of Children’s Rights, the number of girls married in Iran under the age of 15 went from 33,383 in 2006 to 43,459 in 2009, a 30% increase in three years.
According to testimony to the Human Rights Council
Early marriage refers to a marriage that takes place under the age of 18—the upper age limit for protection under the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (Iran is a signatory). The submission uses the term “early marriage” instead of “child marriage” in response to the coordinated efforts of certain states including Iran to narrow down the definition of “child marriage” to include only marriages that involve girl children who have not yet reached the age of menstruation. Justice For Iran considers early marriage to be a form of forced marriage because individuals below the age of 18 are unable to give informed consent. As with all other forms of forced marriage, early marriage involves elements that are akin to a situation of sexual slavery and thereby calls for the kind of interventions that are required to prevent, monitor and prosecute slavery-like practices.
According to the Islamic Republic civil code1, the legal age of marriage in Iran is set at 13 for girls and 15 for boys. However, the same Act allows girls below 13 and boys below 15 to be wed but conditioned on the consent of their father and the permission of a court judge. In addition, there are troubling reports that Iranian parliament's legal affairs committee is pushing to lower the legal age of marriage for girls back to 9 years of age.
Official statistics released by the Islamic Republic between 2006 and 2011 involving girls below 10 year of age, 10-14 and 15-19 in a number of provinces in Iran indicates a staggering increase of 6448 marriages for the three above-mentioned age groups. Within the same period, the ratio of marriages involving girls compared to those among adults grew by 45%.2 Statistics indicate the number of girls under the age of 15 who were registered to marry increased from 33,383 in 2006 to 39,831 in 2011. Comparatively, this indicates a 40% increase in the percentage of girl children below 15 years of age who were forced to marry. Such an increase is even more significant given the fact that the population in the same age range decreased by 394,302. From a different angle, on average, 177 typical primary and secondary girl schools are shut down because their student bodies are forced to marry and perform domestic and sexual duties expected of these children as married women. Statistics released in 2012 indicated that close to 10 million Iranian children over the age of six were illiterate. Furthermore, mortality rate for married girls below the age of 15 is 5 times higher than those over the age of twenty due to childbirth complications. Furthermore, experts warn of a surge in mental illness, suicides, teenage runaways and girls turning to sex work.