By the age of eleven, “Raha” already had seven children. Married off to a man five times her age, she was in poor health when her situation was accidentally discovered in the Iranian city of Ilham by a charity that was later disbanded by the government.

Her story made headlines throughout the country, yet tens of thousands of girls continue to be legally married off every year in Iran, where girls can be married at age 13—younger with the permission of the father or male guardian and a judge—and boys can be married at age 15. The government even provides low-cost marriage loans that have resulted in a surge in the life-threatening practicing.

Registered marriages of girls aged between 10-14 years increased by 10.5% in the country in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Statistical Center of Iran. The report, published by the ROKNA Iranian state-run news agency, added that 1,346 babies were born from mothers under the age of 15.

However, the numbers cited in the report only cover registered marriages, which means they exclude those that went unregistered, a common practice in rural and remote locations in Iran where the act of child marriage is also more common.

Child brides are subjected to severe mental and physical abuse with no means of protecting themselves. Despite broad societal condemnation of the practice, all attempts to raise the marriage age in Iran have been blocked by hardline officials.

This short animated film, “Golbahar,” written, directed, and animated by Marjan Farsad and sponsored by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), offers a lens into the world of a child bride. Learn more about child marriage by reading our recent fact sheet on children’s rights in Iran.

Source » iranhumanrights