Iranian Lawmakers Consider Curtailing Adult Women’s International Travel


IranAir Passenger PlaneLawmakers in Iran are preparing to consider legislation that may drastically alter an adult woman’s ability to obtain a passport and travel outside the country.

The draft law, set to go before the 290-seat Majlis, stipulates that single women up to the age of 40 must receive official permission from their father or male guardian in order to obtain travel documents.

Under current law, all Iranians under 18 years of age — both male and female — must receive paternal permission before receiving a passport. Married women must receive their husband’s approval to receive the documents.

The proposal is expected to find support in the conservative Majlis.

Critics say the draft law is the latest attack on women in a country whose Islamic leaders are eager to scale back a burgeoning rights movement.

Human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that Iran’s interpretation of Shari’a law puts girls and women at a distinct disadvantage. “According to our laws, if a 9-year-old girl commits a criminal offense, she will be tried and punished exactly as a 40-year-old person would,” Ebadi says. “But if she wants to leave the country she is required, until the age of 40, to get permission from her father [for a passport]. If her father is deceased, she has to get permission from a judge.”

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This draft law is sunnah and follows the gender inequality of sharia law.

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