The Gatestone Institute says in its piece Islam's "Human Rights":

fundamentalists allow forced marriages of female children in countries including Saudi Arabia ... and Iran.

It links to the telepgraph.co.uk article Alarm as hundreds of children under age of 10 married in Iran but that doesn't say anything about it.

Is this information correct that forced marriages allowed in Iran?

  • Do under-10-year olds marry of their own free will? If yes, then sure the Telegraph article doesn't say that forced marriage happens in Iran.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 2:19
  • @AndrewGrimm it is then false? I heard once, iran marriage age 13 or 14. I can't remember where I saw it.
    – Feralcat
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 5:56
  • 5
    What do you understand "forced" to mean? I'm sure in many of these cases that are being called "forced" the children agreed, at least in principle, to follow their parents' wishes. But the life choices available to a 10-year-old are very different from those available to an older person.
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 13:02
  • @DanGetz great observation. In the US and most other Western countries, children are deemed inherently unable to consent to sexual activity and any sexual activity that they "appear" to consent to is automatically deemed invalid by law, even if, psychologically speaking, they did actually consent. Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 15:39
  • 1
    @MohammadSakibArifin I have rejected your edit. If you want to improve links, please be complete, do all of them and add titles (not just move them around).
    – user22865
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 20:49

4 Answers 4


It's false.

Definition of forced marriage:

Forced marriage describes a marriage that takes place without the free or valid consent of one or both of the partners and involves either physical or emotional duress.

"Forced And Early Marriage: A Focus On Central And Eastern Europe And Former Soviet Union Countries With Selected Laws From Other Countries", United Nations

Iran's family law states in its article 1070:

Article 1070- Consent of the marrying parties is the condition upon which depends the enforcement of the marriage contract, and if a party showing at first reluctance authorizes the making of the contract subsequently, the contract will be binding unless the reluctance is so acute that the reluctant person cannot be considered as having been in possession of any intention.

Reference: Iran Family Law

But some modern western scholars have a different defintion of valid consent. They argue that the consent of a girl or a boy aged less than 18 is not valid.

  • 6
    "valid consent" - You have not provided enough information to sufficiently define what is "valid" consent and whether the "consent" required by Iran law meets the definition of "valid". Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 17:31
  • 4
    This answer is biased when seen under a western point of view. Iran consider children marriage with permission of the guardian legal - that's forced marriage in my book.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 10:27
  • 1
    Does being fold you will be excluded from all jobs and have nothing to eat etc if you don’t agree, make it “forced”. Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 13:03
  • 2
    @AlAmin This answer is incorrect. Check the other ones for clarification.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 19:48
  • 1
    @called2voyage point addressed. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 15:44

Additional information to Mohammad's answer, too long for a comment:

Article 1041 - Marriage before the age, of majority is prohibited.

Note - Marriage before puberty by the permission of the Guardian and on condition of taking into consideration the ward’s interest is proper.


Iran's 2012 Penal Code stipulates the age of maturity as 9 lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys [source]

There is a rather significant cultural difference in what "valid consent" means. In western cultures valid consent requires both parties to be at least 16-21 years old, depending on which exact culture we're talking about.

I summary: Iran has a definition of "forced marriage", and "forced marriage" is illegal. However, some marriages that are legal in Iran would not be legal in any western culture, due to conflicting definitions of "valid consent".

  • 2
    That's right. The situation isn't one of a country for some reason deciding to allow forced marriages, but a fundamental disagreement over what constitutes sufficient "force" to make a marriage "forced". Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 15:01

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.

Iranwire states

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.


According to Early and Forced Marriages in the Islamic Republic of Iran:

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

It is further stated:

According to the country’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, sexual experiences, with the exception of intercourse, are permitted with girls of all ages. He has issued a fatwa (religious edict): “Anyone who has a wife less than nine years of age is not allowed to engage in sexual intercourse, whether she is his permanent or temporary wife. However, other forms of sexual pleasures are permitted, such as touching with lust, hugging, and rubbing penis between the buttocks and thighs; even if she is a nursing baby.”

See also the related question Did Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, The Supreme Leader of Iran, say this about pedophilia?

which explains that the leader of Iran ordered that there be no punishment for intercourse with a permanent or temporary wife who is under age 9, unless tearing causes the anus and vagina to become one or tearing causes the urinary tract and reproductive tract to become one.

Obviously a baby who is still nursing can not consent to marriage.

  • Is this upto-date info? Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 10:53
  • @MohammadSakibArifin the reference is from December 2013
    – DavePhD
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 12:53
  • @MohammadSakibArifin And in 2016 the United Nations said "The Committee deplores the fact that the State party allows sexual intercourse involving girls as young as 9 lunar years and that other forms of sexual abuse of even younger children is not criminalized. The Committee is seriously concerned that article 1108 of the Civil Code, which obliges wives to fulfil the sexual needs of their husbands at all times, places child brides at risk of sexual violence, including marital rape." tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/…
    – DavePhD
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 15:57

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