Ahmadinejad: Girls, Marry at 16

Why wait until you're 24, asks Iranian president
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2010 8:01 AM CST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is shown at a public gathering during his provincial tour in the city of Qazvin about 90 miles west of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/ISNA,Saman Aghvami)

(Newser) – The best age for a girl to marry is 16, according to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president is speaking out against his country's family planning program, instituted in the 1990s to reduce Iran's then-rising growth rate. Ahmadinejad believes the program is ungodly and overly Western, and complains that "the marriage age for boys has reached 26 and for girls to 24, and there is no reason for this," according to local reports cited by the AP. It's worth noting, as the Independent does, that the legal marriage age for girls was raised in 2004 to 15 ... from nine.

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