criteria” has often resulted in provisions that discriminate or have a discriminatory impact on
various grounds, including gender.
The Iranian Islamic Penal Code (2013) is largely based on the Government’s interpretation of
Islamic Sharia precepts and contains provisions which directly discriminate between girls and
boys under the criminal justice system. One of the most telling examples is the age of criminal
responsibility, which is set at nine lunar years for girls (equivalent to eight years, nine months) and
fifteen lunar years for boys (equivalent of fourteen years, seven months).5 Another example is the
penalization, through the Islamic Penal Code (2013), of women and girls over the age of nine who
do not comply with the Islamic dress code in public, notably with wearing the compulsory hijab.6
Additionally, many provisions under the Iranian Civil Code are discriminatory towards women.
These provisions notably include the legal age of marriage,7 the share of inheritance,8 and the right
to divorce.9 In marriage, the Civil Code provides rights to the husband over those of the wife,10
notably by establishing that the position of the ‘head of the family’ is the exclusive prerogative of
the husband. Under Iranian law, the husband is entitled to control aspects of his wife’s life11 and
demand that she performs her ‘duties’.12
Child marriage continues to be permitted under Iranian law. The legal minimum age for marriage
is 13 for girls and 15 for boys.13 However, children who have reached puberty can marry with
parental consent and court approval.14 The predefined age of puberty under the Islamic Republic
of Iran, and the age of legal majority, is 9 lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys.15
Between March 2018 and March 2019, the National Organisation for Civil Registration reported
over 30,000 marriages involving girls between the ages of 10 and 14, including 209 marriages

5
Criminal responsibility, Articles 140, 146 and 147 of the Islamic Penal Code, 2013 https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-ofbooks-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
6
Islamic Penal Code, 2013, Article 638, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-ofthe-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
7
Article 1041, Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran. https://iranhrdc.org/the-civil-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran/
8
Articles 861 to 948, Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran. https://iranhrdc.org/the-civil-code-of-the-islamic-republic-ofiran/
9
Article 1133, Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran. https://iranhrdc.org/the-civil-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran/
10
Articles 1102 to 1119, 1133 to 1142, Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran. https://iranhrdc.org/the-civil-code-of-theislamic-republic-of-iran/
11
For instance, under Article 1117 of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran “The
husband can prevent his wife from occupations or technical work
which is incompatible with the family interests or the dignity of himself or his wife.” https://iranhrdc.org/the-civil-code-of-theislamic-republic-of-iran/
12
Article 1108, Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran. https://iranhrdc.org/the-civil-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran/
13
Article 1041 of the Civil Code as amended up until December 2000, NGO Impact Iran Coalition, Joint Submission to the
Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2016,
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CRC/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CRC_NGO_IRN_19809_E.pdf
14
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/wpcontent/uploads/pdf_en/LegalCom/Womens_Rights_Commentary_389929723.pdf
15
Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2016, CRC/C/IRN/CO/3-4, paras. 27–28 https://undocs.org/en/CRC/C/IRN/CO/3-4

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