Would You Marry Me? Child Marriage in Iran

This week our design intern Patryk has been working with Maral to produce an image that uses data gathered from Ebtekar News  and the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child. At first glance the bold numbers jump off the page, leading us to delve deeper into the narratives behind the numbers.

The 13 hidden in the background?

Sharia law recognises girls as adults when they turn nine, and while the minimum age for marriage in Iran is 13 for girls and 15 for boys, younger children can be married off with the approval of their guardians and the court.

85% of the nearly 2 million Iranians under the age of 19 to marry over the past 6 years were girls.

More than 200,000 Iranians under the age of 15 were married; 97% of them were girls.

In 2010, 716 Iranian girls younger than 10 were married.

Who is asking, „Would you marry me?“

The Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr Ahmad Shaheed, wrote in his latest UN report that he is ‚deeply concerned about reports that the Legal Affairs Committee of the Iranian Parliament has announced that the law that prohibits the marriage of girls below the age of 13 is considered to be “un-Islamic and illegal”‘.


Think Again: A Nuclear Iran

Why it won’t be the end of the world if the mullahs get the bomb.


„Iran is an irrational actor“

Wrong. It’s as clear as day that the Islamic Republic pursues goals in the Middle East that put it on a collision course with the United States. Iran is opposed to Israel as a Jewish state, for instance, and competes for regional influence with the conservative Gulf Arab monarchies. But that doesn’t mean it is irrational: On the contrary, its top leadership, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is deliberative and calculating. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s antics and often wild rhetoric shouldn’t obscure the fact that the Islamic Republic is interested in its own survival above all else. When contemplating the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, we should all be grateful that notions of martyrdom and apocalyptic beliefs don’t have a significant pull on Iranian decision-making.

Iran’s possible pursuit of nuclear weapons capability is motivated by deterrence, not some messianic effort to bring about the end times. The Islamic Republic has a relatively weak conventional military that is no match for U.S. and most Western forces — most of its regular naval and ground forces operate equipment from the 1960s and 1970s. It has tried to make up for this through a doctrine of asymmetry: It has supported terrorist and insurgent groups across the Middle East and created a „guerrilla“ navy, which — at best — might be able to swarm U.S. ships and interrupt shipping in the Persian Gulf. This is all meant to prevent U.S.-driven regime change.

Nukes could provide the ultimate deterrent for an insecure regime. And Iran has a lot to be insecure about: It is a Shia and Persian-majority theocracy surrounded by hostile Sunni Arabs, which has recently watched the United States overrun unfriendly regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq with relative ease. The regime perceives both conflicts as having damaged U.S. credibility and power — but knows this is no guarantee it can protect itself in a future conflict against the vastly superior American military without a nuclear bomb.

As dangerous as it is, Iran’s possible pursuit of nuclear weapons makes logical sense. And it isn’t an effort that is unique to the Islamic Republic: Any Iranian political system, whether imperial, theocratic, or democratic, would at least consider a nuclear weapons capability. Although a nuclear-armed Iran would be a dangerous development, a closer look demonstrates that it could well be a containable challenge for the United States and its allies. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

DW: Iran: Innenansichten eines Gottesstaates

Projekt: Innenansichten eines GottesstaatesUnterdrückte Menschenrechte


Irans Blogger kritisieren Schau-Exekutionen

Öffentliche Hinrichtung im Iran und Schaulustige (Foto: MEHR)

Die öffentliche Hinrichtung zweier Männer löste Diskussionen in Irans Blogosphäre aus. Kritisiert wurde die Vollstreckung in Teherans Künstlerpark, aber auch der Voyeurismus von Teilen der iranischen Gesellschaft. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Reuters: U.N. watchdog, EU’s Ashton to press Iran in nuclear dispute

Herman Nackaerts, head of a delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), speaks to journalists at the airport in Vienna after arriving from Iran January 18, 2013. REUTERS-Leonhard Foeger
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton speaks at the start of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg April 22, 2013. REUTERS-Francois Lenoir

1 of 2. Herman Nackaerts, head of a delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), speaks to journalists at the airport in Vienna after arriving from Iran January 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

By Fredrik Dahl and Parisa Hafezi


(Reuters) – Iran faces international pressure over its nuclear program in two separate meetings on Wednesday, but no breakthrough is expected with the Islamic state focused on next month’s presidential election.

In Vienna, the U.N. nuclear agency will once again urge Iran to stop stonewalling its inquiry into suspected atomic bomb research by Tehran, which denies any intent to make such arms.

The talks started around 10 a.m. (4 a.m. EDT) at Iran’s diplomatic mission in the Austrian capital.

„Differences remain but we … are determined to solve these issues,“ Herman Nackaerts, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters.

Later over dinner in Istanbul, the European Union’s top diplomat will meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator – also now a presidential candidate – to discuss a broader diplomatic effort bid to resolve a row that could ignite war in the Middle East.

The two sets of talks represent distinct diplomatic tracks but are linked because both center on suspicions that Iran may be seeking the capability to assemble nuclear bombs behind the facade of a declared civilian atomic energy program.

Any movement in the decade-old standoff will probably have to wait until after Iranians vote on June 14 for a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, analysts and diplomats say.

Even though it is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who decides Iran’s nuclear policy, the conservative leadership may want to tread cautiously ahead of a poll in which loyalists will be challenged by two major independents.

With the election coming up, „the Iranians will do everything to keep everything stable,“ one Western envoy said.


Israel and the United States have threatened possible military action if diplomacy and increasingly tough trade and energy sanctions fail to make Iran curb its nuclear program.

Tehran says its nuclear activity has only peaceful purposes and that it is Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear-armed power, that threatens peace and stability.

The IAEA has been trying for more than a year to coax Iran into letting it resume an inquiry into what the U.N. watchdog calls the „possible military dimensions“ of its nuclear work.

Wednesday’s talks in Vienna will be the 10th round of negotiations between the two sides since early 2012, so far without a framework agreement that would give the IAEA the access it wants to sites, officials and documents.

Full Story


Gender and Society In Iran – Part 1: The Debate Over Child Marriage, Including Child Brides Wed To Adult Men

By: Y. Mansharof and A. Savyon*


The past few years have seen an increasing public debate about issues of gender and society in Iran – the woman’s place in the private and public arena, cohabitation of unmarried couples, women’s right to travel abroad without permission of a male guardian, the hijab, and more, as opposed to the Islamic regime’s position on these issues.

One such issue is the phenomenon of marriages involving children, including children under age 10 – especially arranged marriages of girls to adult men, or even to elderly men.

This paper will discuss child marriages in Iran, especially those of very young girls to older men. It is the first in a series on the discussion in Iran on gender and society, and on how Iran’s Islamic regime is dealing with these issues.

One Million Children, Even Under 10, In Arranged Marriages – And 85% Of Them Are Girls

Under Iranian law, girls may marry at 13 and boys at 15, and children under 10 may marry with the approval of their guardian and the court.[1]According to official statistics, about one million children, even under age 10, are married. The statistics also show that 85% of these one million married children are girls – meaning that most of them are married to grown men.[2]

Child Marriage Is Growing, And Poses Great Risk To Society – But It’s Permitted By Islamic Law

Public figures – sociologists, Majlis members, activists, and others – have warned that the number of children marrying is on the rise, and with it the great health and social risks this poses for society, and have called on the regime to tackle it with legal and cultural reforms.[3] According to one sociologist, arranging marriages for children, especially girls, is common among poor and uneducated urban families that seek a way out of dire financial straits; he adds that the girls themselves are severely damaged both physically and psychologically.

Regime spokesmen have denied the extent of the phenomenon, and have also shrugged off the matter, saying that child marriage is legal and that preventing it is against Islamic law.

The following are facts, figures, and main arguments in the debate on child marriage in Iran. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Gulf I: Iran’s Power in the Air

Michael Elleman

What are Iran’s missile assets?
            Iran has the largest and most diverse inventory of long-range artillery rockets and ballistic missiles in the Middle East. It is estimated to have between 200 and 300 Scud-B and Scud–C missiles, which Iran has renamed the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2. It also owns hundreds of Zelzal rockets and Fateh-110 semi-guided rockets (see below).
      These systems allow Iran to threaten targets throughout the Gulf littoral, but they are not accurate enough to be decisive militarily. Iran would need at least 100 missiles armed with 500-kg conventional warheads — and potentially many more — to destroy a specific target with a moderate level of confidence.
            If fired in large numbers, Iranian missiles might be able to harass or disrupt operations at large U.S. or GCC military targets, such as airfields, naval ports or fuel depots. But such attacks are unlikely to not halt activities for a significantly long time.
            Iran is also unlikely to be able to improve the accuracy of its short-range missiles for at least the next five to ten years.  The addition of more sophisticated inertial guidance units — or Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers — could improve accuracy by only 25 percent if properly incorporated into a Shahab or Fateh-110 missile, and then thoroughly tested.
            To further enhance its accuracy, Iran would have to develop the capacity to terminate missile thrust precisely or add correction systems for the post-boost phase.  But adding these mechanisms would also require flight testing likely to take four years or longer.
            Iran’s longer-range missiles — the Shahab-3 and Ghadr-1 — are capable of striking targets throughout the Middle East, including Israel, as well as portions of southeastern Europe. But these missiles are highly inaccurate. And Iran’s stockpile likely totals less than 100.
            This could change once Iran completes development of the solid-fuelled Sajjil-2 missile. Iranian engineers are widely believed to have the capacity to manufacture this system, although they still rely on foreign sources for fuel-production ingredients. Development may have stalled, however, since Iran has conducted only one flight test since 2009.
            The utility of Iran’s ballistic missiles is likely to remain weak for years, yet they could be used effectively as a psychological weapon on population centers. The most vulnerable cities are Baghdad, Kuwait City and Dubai, since they are within range of the Zelzal rockets that Iran has in large quantity. Abu Dhabi, Manama, Doha and Saudi coastal cities are far enough to require the longer-range Shahab-1 and -2 missiles, which are in shorter supply.
What are Iran’s air force capabilities? And how do they compare to the U.S. air forces in the Gulf?
            The Islamic Republic’s air forces and ground-based air defense systems offer limited protection of Iranian air space. They are no match for the combined capacity of the United States and its six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies. In a prolonged and intensive conflict involving the United States, Iran would have difficulty protecting its strategic assets, including its nuclear facilities, air bases, and command-and-control centers.
            An integrated U.S. air defense network would probably prevent Iranian pilots from reaching many military targets within GCC territory, although limited air raids might have some success in the opening days of a conflict. (The GCC includes six sheikhdoms — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman — that make up most of the Arabian Peninsula.)
            Most of Iran’s aircraft were purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and are widely considered obsolete. Even Iran’s Russian-made MiG-29 and Su-24 fighter-jets, acquired more recently, lack the modern avionics and air-to-air missiles needed to compete with the U.S. and GCC air forces.
      In January, Iran unveiled a new stealth fighter-jet (see left). But the presented craft is clearly a model, or mock-up. It is quite small as well, judging from the size of the pilot seated at the controls. The Qaher F-313 appears to be an aspirational system, which is many years from reality. But it does indicate Iran’s ambitions.
      Iran also lacks sophisticated airborne command-and-warning assets, as well as the secure communications network needed to relay vital threat and targeting information. These deficiencies place Iranian pilots at a severe disadvantage when engaging hostile air forces armed with a complete picture of the airspace.
            Perhaps Iran’s most significant shortcoming is its limited capacity to maintain airplanes and generate anything beyond one sortie per day for each fighter jet. Iran has a very limited ability to surge its air forces. It would probably be quickly overwhelmed by a combined attack by U.S. and GCC forces.
            Despite these and other shortcomings, Iran’s air forces and air defenses can still inflict loses on allied air forces, albeit at a minimal rate. Tehran also claims to have mated C-701 and C-801 anti-ship cruise missiles to its F-4 aircraft. If true, these stand-off weapons would allow Iran to attack U.S. warships and commercial vessels in the Gulf with some success.
            If Iran modified anti-ship missiles for land attacks, it could target key infrastructure assets located along the Gulf littoral, although the small warheads carried by these missiles would limit the damage.
What are the defense options against Iran’s missiles?
            Theater missile defenses flooding into the region could blunt the political and psychological effect of Iran’s offensive-missile threat. The United States already deploys Patriot, SM-3 and other missile interceptors in the region. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have older-generation Patriot batteries. Both countries are in the process of upgrading their defenses with more capable systems. The United Arab Emirates leads in acquisition of missile and air defense; it is currently procuring a sophisticated suite of systems, including advanced Patriot and THAAD batteries.
            No defensive system is leak-proof. But the anti-missile capabilities acquired by the United States and its GCC allies have proven their efficacy during development and testing. They should help minimize public fear.
            Iran might try to overwhelm these defenses by firing missiles in large salvos, as it does during annual military exercises. This tactic might allow a few warheads to reach their destinations, but interceptor missiles would probably protect the most critical targets. An integrated missile defense architecture, if implemented across the GCC in a coherent way, would further reduce vulnerability to salvo tactics.
Iran has claimed it can arm drones with missiles. Is this a significant advancement?
            Iran is developing a wide-range of unmanned aerial vehicles. Most of the systems seen so far are slow, have limited maneuverability, and carry small payloads, so are used primarily as reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering platforms.
            One notable exception is the Karrar, also known as the “ambassador of death.” The Karrar is based on target-drone technology, which was originally used for training air-defense crews. Nonetheless, it carries 500-kg gravity bombs and presents yet another means of delivery that American and GCC forces must track and, if necessary, defeat.
            The larger concern, however, is Iran’s large arsenal of anti-ship cruise missiles acquired from China. These weapons pose a significant threat to Gulf shipping as well as navies operating near the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian use of anti-ship missiles would significantly escalate any conflict, so Tehran would probably use them only if the regime felt threatened. But their mere existence — and the threat they pose — offers Tehran an effective component for deterring attack by others.

Read Michael Elleman’s chapter on Iran’s missile program in „The Iran Primer“

Michael Elleman, senior fellow for missile defense at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a former U.N. weapons inspector, is co-author of “Iran’s Ballistic Missile Capabilities: A Net Assessment.”
Photo Credits: Fateh-110 missiles by M-ATF, from and [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons and Qaher F-313


Source: USIP


Iran: Zwangsheirat einer afghanischen Minderjährigen – Auskunft der SFH-Länderanalyse

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Zwangsheirat einer afghanischen Minderjährigen

Auskunft der SFH-Länderanalyse

Adrian Schuster


Gemäss der Anfrage vom 19. Dezember 2012 an die SFH-Länderanalyse gehen wir vom folgenden Sachverhalt aus: Ein sich illegal in Iran aufhaltendes minderjähriges Mädchen afghanischer Nationalität wird von ihrem ebenfalls afghanischen Vater mit der Zwangsverheiratung bedroht. Der Anfrage haben wir folgende Fragen entnommen:

  1. Wie sind die Rechtslage und die Praxis betreffend Zwangsheirat von Minderjährigen in Iran?
  2. Werden minderjährige afghanische Mädchen von staatlichen Stellen vor Zwangsverheiratung geschützt?
  3. Gibt es Organisationen in Iran, welche afghanische Mädchen vor Zwangsheirat schützen und Sicherheit bieten können?

Die Schweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe SFH beobachtet die Entwicklungen in Iran seit mehreren Jahren.[1]Aufgrund von Expertenauskünften und eigenen Recherchen nehmen wir zu den Fragen wie folgt Stellung: Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Spiegel: Menschenrechtslage: EU verschärft Sanktionen gegen Iran

Protest gegen Hinrichtungen in Iran (Archivbild): Neue Maßnahmen der EUZur Großansicht

picture-alliance/ dpa

Protest gegen Hinrichtungen in Iran (Archivbild): Neue Maßnahmen der EU

Teheran verstößt immer wieder massiv gegen die Menschenrechte – nun versucht es Brüssel mit weiteren Zwangsmaßnahmen. Schärfere Sanktionen sollen das Regime zum Kurswechsel bringen. Dazu gehören Einreiseverbote und eingefrorene Bankkonten.

Brüssel – Regelmäßig gibt es Meldungen über grobe Missachtungen derMenschenrechte in Iran – doch das Regime lässt sich vom internationalen Protest kaum beeindrucken. Nun protestiert die Europäische Union mit verschärften und verlängerten Sanktionen gegen die Verhältnissen in Iran.

Die EU-Außenminister beschlossen am Montag, die bestehenden Strafmaßnahmen wegen Menschenrechtsverletzungen um ein Jahr bis Mitte April 2014 zu verlängern, wie in Brüssel mitgeteilt wurde.Zudem werden neun weitere Personen, die für „schwere Verletzungen der Menschenrechte“ verantwortlich gemacht werden, auf die EU-Sanktionsliste gesetzt. Dadurch ist ihnen die Einreise in die EU verboten, zudem werden ihre Vermögen in der Europäischen Union gesperrt.

Vollständiger Artikel


One Million Signatures: The Battle for Gender Equality in Iran – Case Studie

Vision and Motivation

Iranian women have a long history of leadership in the country’s political and social movements for change, stretching back to the 1890 Tobacco Protest, a civic movement against dictatorship and foreign interference in Iran. During the 1905 Constitutional Revolution that established an Iranian Constitution and Parliament, women’s voices became more organized, and an effort was launched to raise political awareness about women’s rights and to educate girls and women. Women’s journals and associations began to emerge.

After the Pahlavi Dynasty came to power in 1925, it strove to modernize Iran through reforms including to the educational system, female literacy and women’s active participation in public life. Women’s rights and opportunities were expanded, from groundbreaking equality in the family to political participation. First, in 1963, women were granted the right to vote and run for office. Four years later, the Family Protection Law heralded a revolution for family law, and the 1975 amendment to the law protected women’s rights even more robustly, making it an unprecedented codification of women’s rights in the Middle East region. The courts adjudicated issues such as divorce, child custody, child support, and multiple marriages, whereas previous to the landmark legislation, men had had unilateral rights in these areas; in addition, the minimum age of marriage was raised from 9 to 18 for women and from 15 to 20 for men.[1] At the same time, women occupied 24 seats in both houses of parliament and served as mayors, ministers, city council members, ambassadors, judges, and business leaders.[2]

The 1979 Islamic Revolution obliterated these achievements and rolled back women’s legal status virtually overnight. Within two months after the revolution, many articles of the Family Protection Law were repealed in practice. Women were initially forced to wear the hejab at their workplaces, and many were eventually forced out of the workplace altogether; and parks, beaches, sporting events, and other public spaces such as buses were sex-segregated. Within four years, gender segregation had expanded even to primary and secondary schools; imprisonment and fines were imposed as punishment for women who failed to follow the official dress rules; and women’s legal value was reduced to half that of a man in cases requiring monetary compensation for loss of life.[3] As Shirin Ebadi put it, “The laws, in short, turned the clock back fourteen hundred years, to…the days when stoning women for adultery and chopping off the hands of thieves were considered appropriate sentences.”[4]

During the revolution, liberal women, albeit in limited numbers, held demonstrations against compulsory hejab and sex segregation and were outspoken in their criticism of discriminatory laws; however, in the face of violence from Islamic radicals and complacency from leftist groups, they failed to put forth a coherent and sustained movement to address gender inequality.[5] In short, many Iranians who may have not been in favor of mandatory hejabchose to stay silent on the matter, and many leftist groups actively called on women to defer their demands for women’s rights in favor of larger, so called more important goals. As a result, many liberal-minded women were forced to flee the country, while others, many of them highly educated professional women, were forced out of the public sphere and isolated within the bounds of home. The struggle for equal rights, however constrained and coded, continued over the ensuing decades, eventually leading to the launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign in 2006. During the three previous years, Iranian women’s rights activists had grown increasingly visible on an international level. After human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, Iranian feminists held a series of seminars on women’s rights that led to an unprecedented demonstration against gender inequality in front of Tehran University on June 12, 2005. This event united over 600 male and female activists, and on the same day the next year, women’s rights activists organized another demonstration in Tehran’s Haft-e Tir Square, which gained the support of both local and international human rights groups such as Amnesty International. The protesters “demand[ed] the reform of laws, especially family laws, that discriminate against women.”[6] Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Urlaubsparadies in der Straße von Hormus (ARD)

Weltspiegel-Bericht aus dem Iran

Urlaubsparadies in der Straße von Hormus

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