Irans innenriksminister anbefaler bruk av det kortvarige ekteskapet for at unge menn ute av stand til å gifte seg kan få utløp for sin seksuelle energi.
Det er lenge siden en så fremtredende representant åpent gikk inn for korttidsekteskap, som mange mener bare er et annet ord for prostitusjon. Shia-islam åpner for ekteskap som kan vare helt ned til noen timer. Det er vanlig med brudepenger, hvilket gjør det enda lettere å drive prostitusjon.
Men innenriksministeren tenker på alle de unge som ikke kan gifte seg.
A temporary marriage, or «sigheh,» refers to a Shiite Muslim tradition under which a man and a woman sign a contract that allows them to be «married» for any length of time, even a few hours. An exchange of money, as a sort of dowry, is often involved.
«Temporary marriage is God’s rule. We must aggressively encourage that,» state-run television quoted Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi as saying.
The minister, who made his comments Thursday, was the first Iranian official to support the disputed practice in more than a decade. Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani raised the issue in the early 1990s but was opposed by the country’s hard-line clerics.
«We have to find a solution to meet the sexual desire of the youth who have no possibility of marriage,» Pourmohammadi was quoted as saying by local newspapers.
Half of Iran’s population of 70 million is under 30. Taxi driver Reza Sarabi, 23, expressed the frustration of many young Iranian men who can’t afford to buy a house and get married.
«I have no money to set up a matrimonial life. I don’t want prostitutes. What should I do with my sexual needs?» he said.
The «sigheh» is banned in Sunni Islam, but similar practices can be found in Sunni countries. One such practice is the «urfi» marriage, an unofficial arrangement that is often kept secret. Although an urfi marriage involves signing a document in front of witnesses, the marriage can be broken by destroying the paper.
In Iran, temporary marriage has been reported as a way some widows and poor women help support themselves. But critics of the practice believe such arrangements only exacerbate the country’s prostitution problem and undermine Iran’s values.