The bill stipulates that a court must approve the marriage if it deems it to be in the best interests of the individual child.
Activists have condemned the bill, saying it legalises paedophilia. The law must now be reviewed by Iran’s Guardian Council, which can reject laws for violating Sharia law.
While marrying adopted children or stepchildren has so far been illegal in the country, the minimum age for marriage for boys is 15, and for girls 13 if their father consents.
Girls younger than 13 can still be married with the approval of a judge.
In 2010 alone, as many as 42,000 children aged between 10 and 14 were married.
Recently voicing its position on child marriage was the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) which adopted a resolution on “Strengthening of efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage”, in which the HRC recognises that the practice is not only a violation of children’s rights but has “adverse consequences on the enjoyment of human rights, such as the right to education, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health, and the right to be free from all forms of violence”. The resolution sets up a panel discussion on preventing and eliminating the practice for its 26th session (June 2014), and requests the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights to prepare a report ahead of the session with civil society input.