Iran’s parliament recently approved a new law, ostensibly designed to protect the rights of children, which could, according to critics, enable pedophiles to have increased access to teenage girls. This is because the legislation enables a father to marry his adopted daughter if she is 13 years of age or older.
The bill, approved on September 22, “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,” the Guardian reported. A government religious legal body still needs to review the law before it takes effect.
In Iran, girls must be 13 to marry, if they have permission of the father, and girls under age 13 can be married with the permission of a judge. The age of consent for boys is 15. According to an Iranian news source cited by the Guardian, tens of thousands of children aged 10-14 are married each year in Iran.
London based human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr, who works on Iranian issues, slammed the legislation and said that “this bill is legalizing pedophilia… you can be a pedophile and get your bait in the pretext of adopting children.”
Officials have explained the bill as an attempt to solve hijab issues in families with adopting children, Sadr explained. An adopted girl is required to wear the hijab in front of her father, and a mother must wear the hijab in front of her adopted son, requirements complicating daily life that would not be in effect if the adopted teen would be married into the family.