Iran to Propose Tougher Divorce Law for Men, Vice President Says

The government is drafting a bill to toughen conditions under which a man can file for divorce, Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar has said.

“The new bill will make it harder for men to divorce their wives without legitimate reasons,” Mrs. Ebtekar was quoted on September 25 by daily Iran as saying. “Many women lawyers, including doctor Sajjadi and Farideh Gheirat [women’s rights attorney], who are members of the religious-law council and have extensive experience in this area, have made valuable recommendations which we will incorporate [in the bill].”

Speaking to the daily Iran, Mrs. Gheirat said: “The new conditions listed in the proposed bill, under which a man can file for divorce, include ‘irrational behavior’, ‘extreme violence’, ‘immoral acts’, ‘refusal to fulfill marital obligations’ (an existing law), ‘failure to meet social responsibilities’, ‘drug addiction’ and ‘criminal conviction resulting in imprisonment.’”

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“The current civil code allows a man to divorce his wife anytime he wants to, which is not in line with modern laws,” Gheirat explained. “We must rethink this law. It weakens the foundation of family life, and, therefore, we must amend it.”

“According to the current law, women can file for divorce only under specific circumstances, so the new bill tries to place several restrictions on men who wish to end their marriages,” Gheirat added. “The conditions under which a man or a woman can file for divorce are different. If ratified, the new law will require men to meet certain legal obligations and conditions before they can file for divorce. The proposal has been going through legal channels since it was first introduced more than a year ago.”

Gheirat noted: “A committee of legal experts determined that the proposal met all religious and legal criteria before submitting it to the review council. The government is drafting the Divorce Bill, which it will send to the Majlis [Iranian Parliament] soon.”

“The bill lacks any legal ambiguity and has a clear aim. It lists several conditions for starting divorce proceedings. These are an impartial set of conditions that fully comply with religious values and civil laws,” Gheirat added.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]