Iranian Law Allows Men to Marry Adopted Daughters at Age 13

Iranian parliamentarians have passed a bill that allows for men to marry their adopted daughters and do so while said daughters are as young as 13 years-old.

Iran’s Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists which vets all parliamentary bills before the constitution and the Islamic law, has yet to issue its verdict on the controversial legislation.

The London-based human rights group Justice for Iran is concerned that the Guardian Council will approve the bill in part because the world is focused on “Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani” given his recent visibility at the U.N.

In a sense, that would mean the credibility Barack Obama has bestowed upon Rouhani through recent praise is providing cover for this type of move, as well. Obama has made it very clear, he’s far more amenable to negotiating with Iran’s current regime, than he is with his political opposition here at home.

Activists have expressed alarm that the bill, approved by parliament on Sunday, opens the door for the caretaker of a family to marry his or her adopted child if a court rules it is in the interests of the individual child.

To the dismay of rights campaigners, girls in the Islamic republic can marry as young as 13 provided they have the permission of their father. Boys can marry after the age of 15.

In Iran, a girl under the age of 13 can still marry, but needs the permission of a judge. At present, however, marrying stepchildren is forbidden under any circumstances.
As many as 42,000 children aged between 10 and 14 were married in 2010, according to the Iranian news website Tabnak. At least 75 children under the age of 10 were wed in Tehran alone.

She added: “You should not be able to marry your adopted children, full stop. If a father marries his adopted daughter who is a minor and has sex, that’s rape.”

According to Sadr, officials in Iran have tried to play down the sexual part of such marriages, saying it is in the bill to solve the issue of hijab [head scarf] complications when a child is adopted.

An adopted daughter is expected to wear the hijab in front of her father, and a mother should wear it in front of her adopted son if he is old enough, Sadr said.