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I was speaking recently with some Iranians on the ground in Iran when they told me about a recent wedding where a 14-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl got married. They argued that the religious government admires such marriages, and the trend is unfortunately increasing. The authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran gave full permission for this marriage.


As the Iranians were telling me about a recent wedding, I was prepared to offer my congratulations until one of the men mentioned that it was between two young children.

This is not an exception to the rule in the Islamic world or under the ruling of the religious clerics in the Islamic Republic. It happens all too often. Although Muslim scholars argue that marrying a 9-year-old girl was only completely acceptable more than 1000 years ago during the time of Prophet Muhammad, still tens of thousands of underage girls are being forced to get married in Iran and the number expands to hundreds of thousands in the entire Islamic world.

The Islamic Republic is only one country among dozens of other Islamic countries which have legalized and even encouraged under age marriages. This trend is reportedly on the rise instead of declining. For example, there was a 59 percent increase in under-10 year old marriages in Iran in one year. Several parts of the Islamic Republic have experienced a dramatic growth in under-age marriages.

According to the Islamic Republic civil code, Iran’s constitution set the legal marriage age for girls at 13 and boys at 15. But the Iranian parliament’s legal affairs committee made several statements arguing that the Islamic Republic is attempting to lower the girl marriage age to 9. So, even though the above-mentioned marriage is illegal based on Iran’s civil code, the religious authorities allowed it.

Why is the government trying to lower the legal age of a girl to 9, rather than increase it? Isn’t age 9 even well before the child reaches puberty? All of these marriages are happening under the eyes of the so-called moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, whom President Obama seems to admire.


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