TEHRAN, Iran: An Iranian parliamentary committee rejected on Monday government amendments to a bill that would have allowed men to take additional wives without permission from their first wife “” a proposal that angered women and the country’s top judicial official.
Under Islam, a man can have up to four wives, and countries around the Mideast allow polygamy. However, Iran is one of the few “” along with Syria and Tunisia “” that require the consent of the first wife before a husband can take another. Still polygamy is rare in Iran, where most people frown on the practice.
Critics said the government’s proposal was an attempt to further enshrine its strict interpretation of Islam into law and charged it would have undermined women’s rights. The outcry over the original bill had forced parliament last week to postpone a vote pending further debate.
Ali Shahrokhi, head of the parliament’s judicial committee, said the committee restored a clause in the bill stipulating consent from the first wife for men seeking additional wives.
The government of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed amendments last year to legislation drawn up by the judiciary that was supposed to be a landmark bill to allow women judges for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The bill also imposes prison sentences for men who marry girls before they have reached legal age.
… Which Khomeini promptly lowered to nine years of age upon taking power, after Muhammad’s own example. More recent laws have ostensibly added a layer of oversight from the courts girls under 13, but there remains ample reason for the clause above for “legal age” protection to ring hollow.
The new bill will likely be put to vote in parliament next week….