Iranian single women might now need a guardian’s permission to go abroad

A new bill proposes single women need to get official consent from guardians before leaving the country

A new bill has been brought to the Iranian parliament which means single women will need permission from their guardians to leave the country if it is passed.

At the moment, unmarried women and men aged 18 and over can travel abroad if they have a passport, but the new bill asks for single women to need official consent from their guardian, who is usually their father.

Married women need their husband’s permission to hold a passport under current rules dating back to before the 1979 Islamic revolution, and husbands can ban their wives from leaving the country if they wish.

However divorced women are currently free to have a passport and leave the country when they wish.

Speaking to the semi-official Isna news agency, Hossein Naghavi-Hosseini, the speaker of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy said: ‘According to this bill, married women of any age need the written consent of their husband to be able to have a passport and single women above the age of 18 will need the permission of their guardian.’ Single women whose guardian denies them permission could later dispute the decision in a court.

Women’s rights campaigners have been fighting for the removal of the need for a husband’s consent to leave the country since the 1979 revolution. They now see this new bill as a major setback if it is passed.

Shadi Sadr, a prominent women’s rights activist and human rights lawyer, told the Guardian newspaper: ‘The mentality behind these controversial laws is that women should have owners, to give power to men to have control over women.’

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