Date: 1 Oct 2019
The Guardian reported that the Iran lawmakers passed a bill that allows men to marry their adopted daughters, so long as the girls are at least 13 years old.
“This bill is legalizing paedophilia,” said Shadi Sadr, a human rights lawyer for Justice for Iran, a legal group headquartered in London. “It’s not part of the Iranian culture to marry your adopted child. Obviously, incest exists in Iran more or less as it happens in other countries across the world. But this bill is legalizing paedophilia and is endangering our children and normalizing this crime in our culture.”
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.
Shiva Dolatabadi, head of Iran's Society for the Protection of Children's Rights says, "A mother who has adopted a daughter cannot be an adoptive mother if in her remotest thoughts she sees that daughter as her [potential] replacement,” she told Iranian media. “On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that a mother who views her adopted son as a potential husband can have a healthy family."
Touran Valimorad, the head of the Alliance of Islamic Women, has also warned that the law could turn adopted children and stepchildren into objects of sexual desire.
Girls in the Muslim nation already can marry when they’re 13 years old, with the OK of their fathers. Girls who aren’t yet 13 also can marry legally but must obtain the permission of a judge. The union of stepchildren with stepparents is currently forbidden by law.
But this new bill would change that prohibition and give stepdads the legal right to marry their stepdaughters, with the judge’s permission. By way of comparison, the laws regarding male marriage dictate that boys must wait until the age of 15 to legally wed.
The Iranian news site Tabnak estimates that 42,000 children between the ages of 10 and 14 were married in 2010 — and another 75 children under the age of 10 were forced to wed in Tehran in that same year.