How a religious ruling seems to have stopped FGM in the 1950s in Ahwaz, Iran

How a religious ruling seems to have stopped FGM in the 1950s in Ahwaz, Iran

Two new studies shed more light on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Middle East. For the first time, a study explores whether FGM is practiced in Syria – and comes to the conclusion that no evidence of its existence can be found.

Another study explores the history of FGM in the region of Ahwaz in the South-Western Iranian state of Khuzestan. Through talking to older women the PhD-student Susie Latham found that FGM was common in this region but has been abandoned completely without any official program in place. Furthermore, she found that it was first replaced by a milder form before the practice was stopped entirely.

“Collectively, the information suggests that before about 1945, all girls around Ahwaz were routinely subject to Type II FGC. The pattern of cutting across the generations strongly suggests a transition to less severe cutting before the practice finally stopped, although individual families did not necessarily need to pass through each stage.”

Latham found that women in the beginning of the 1950s only underwent Type I FGM, while the practice stopped entirely by the mid to late 1950s.

Instructions against FGM came from a higher religious authority

The reason for abandonment seems to have been interference by religious authorities according to her interview partner. “Every single woman who gave a reason for the abandonment of FGC said that it was the result of an Islamic ruling. Some just knew that it had become haram, but others said that a religious authority had said so in the mosque and that this had been communicated through the men to the women. In my husband’s town, the current imam confirmed reports by three old women that his father had decreed FGC should end, saying the instructions came from a higher religious authority.”

Latham also discusses in her paper how her findings contradict common strategies against FGM. Rightly, she notes that the importance of religious rulings is underestimated by UN and international NGOs. Religious rulings she assumes may not only be of great importance for the practice in Iran, but also in Africa from where she cites examples from Senegal and Somalia proving her point.

Her further thoughts lead her to the suggestion that moving to milder forms of FGM may be a better option than the current Zero-Tolerance approach by the UN and others and could more successfully lead to a total abandonment.

This is an interesting reasoning and quite different from the usual defenders of medicalization who see it as the lesser evil. Latham does not defend more Sunna types as the lesser evil and points out that it is unclear what exactly Sunna female genital cutting is. She sees the promotion of milder forms as a strategy to total abandonment and stresses the importance of agency by local communities.

However, her suggestion must still be rejected as being too general and not applicable in most places. She does not take a closer look on the consequences of medicalization as her example from Iran was not based on medicalization but apparently on the decisions of traditional cutter “to cut less”.

Moving to milder forms as it is promoted today by defenders of medicalization, however, has the opposite effect: FGM becomes more acceptable and can even spread. Thus abandonment becomes less likely.

Nevertheless, Latham’s study gives valuable new insights into the topic and her thoughts about current approaches being too standardized are worthwhile discussing.

No evidence of FGM in Syria

Researchers Diana Geraci and Jaqueline Muslders, on the other hand, looked into the existence of FGM in Syria. Rumors existed that FGM was indeed practiced in the region of Homs and maybe even other places. Even though no evidence existed and no Syrian woman had ever spoken out on it its existence seemed plausible because the Syrian Sunni population adheres to the Sha’afi law school which officially considers female genital cutting a duty.

The researcher team applied a number of methods to verify or falsify these rumors scanning grey literature, asking refugees, midwives, gynecologists and NGOs working in the field. They did not find any evidence that FGM is practiced in Syria today or was in the last 60 years. The value of this research lies also in its discussion of ethnic and relgious correlation: “The possible relation between ethnicity (Kurdish) and law school (Shafi’i) and FGM is too precarious to draw any conclusions for Syria. The Kurdish people in Syria speak a different language than the Kurdish people in Iran and Iraq where FGM is a known practice. And not all communities where Shafi’i law school is dominate practice FGM.”

The studies:

Susie Latham: The campaign against Female Genital Cutting: empowering women or reinforcing global inequity? In: Ethics and Social Welfare, Volume 10, Issue 2, 2016

Diana Geraci, Jaqueline Muslders: Female Genital Mutilation in Syria? An Inquiry into the existence of FGM in Syria, Pharos, April 2016

Survey: Majority of religious leaders pro FGM in Kermansheh, Iran

Survey: Majority of religious leaders pro FGM in Kermansheh, Iran

A recent survey among Sunni religous scholars in the Iranian province of Kermansheh shows that a majority of them (67%) believe that “female circumcision” is religiously obligatory or at least recommended for girls and women. In this province in the West of Iran, female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced by Sunni Kurds who adhere to the Shafi’i law school. Many of them believe that Islam commands them to have their girls cut.

Mullahs opinionIn recent years, the issue of FGM has been raised in Iran by a number of activists through media (radio and internet) and a conference in Teheran. In the province of Kermansheh regular lectures for parents and couples were held and information material warning of negative effacts was distributed. Furthermore, educational programs in Iraqi Kurdish media (TV and radio) about FGM also reach an audience in the Kurdish speaking communities in Iran.

There is good reason to believe that these campaigns have let to a change in attitudes among the population towards FGM. Rates have dropped from 31% in 2010 to 18% in 2014 in the province of Kermansheh, according to a comprehensive study on FGM by Kamel Ahmady.

Yet, even tough educational programs have an effect on people’s attitutes, religious opinions (fatwas) play an important role as well. In reaction to the campaigns against FGM, a number of mullahs have voiced their opinion against FGM while others defended the practice. However, it was not at all clear which opinion the majority of mullahs tends to.

Now, the Hamraz counseling center of Javanrood (Kermansheh, Iran) has conducted a survey among 81 religious leaders and asked them about their opinion on FGM.

The results show that FGM is still justified by a majority of mullahs as a religious deed. Only a small minority of 4% believed that it is not an Islamic practice (not Sunna). The vast majority stated that it is Islamic. More than a third (35%) sees it as recommended or Sunna (the right path), but do not call it an obligation. Yet, almost as many (32%) say it must be done. To substantiate this view, a number of Hadiths (accounts of the prophet’s life and sayings) are referred to and a small number of mullahs even falsely believes that the Holy Quran itself calls for female genital cutting.

However, there is also a highly ambiguous group of 23% who take the seemingly contradicting position of calling it obligatory and Sunna, but say it is not necessary in their opinion. The author of the study, Osman Mahmoudi, interprets this “as a sign of change within the religious establishment or a reaction towards changing opinions in society.”

Mahmoudi points out, that “on the other hand, knowledge of negative consequences exists.” A majority (54%) have heard of different negative effects like psychological problems, infections and marital problems. He concludes that “awareness campaigns have at least partly reached their audience. This is also shown by the answers to question 7 where 34% answered that the decrease of FGM is due to awareness raising through media and research.”

He finds this contradiction highly alerting: “The results imply, that one and the same mullah may know about negative health effects and still defend the practice as a religiously good deed.”

Yet, the mullahs distance themselves from modern science as is shown by the results of question 6 where 46% chose one of the answers which prioritize religion over scientific research and medical studies. “Only 19% take the position that FGM should not be done if doctors and psychologists show that it leads to complications.”

The study concludes “that education about negative health effects of FGM does not lead to a rejection of the practice if strong religious beliefs stand in the way. Medical studies seem to be rejected by a vast majority of mullahs if they contradict their religious believes, thus scientific results are simply not believed.”


Osman Mahmoudi: Survey on religious views on female genital mutilation: Religious justification and awareness raising in Kermansheh province, Iran, August, 2016

what did Iranian Activists do during these years against FGM?

what did Iranian Activists do during these years against FGM?

FGM in Iran

Specific report of Stop FGM in Iran

This introduction sets out the context of FGM in the Islamic Republic of Iran and is included to enable a comparison to be drawn between the Indonesian FGM landscape and that in Iran.

In Iran, women who undergo FGM – often called Khatne or Sonat – primarily undergo Type I or rarely Type II FGM. Some local reports show that in the Khuzestan province, maybe, infibulation is performed (the activists are not sure). The type varies from one region to the next. While in some villages in Kermanshah and Kurdistan women believe that some small amount of bleeding from a cut is necessary, in other areas such as Hormozgan the genitals may be more extensively cut.[i] The vast majority of FGM procedures are carried out by traditional local female circumcisers, including Roma women passing through the villages, midwives sometimes known as dayeh or Bibis depending on the region, and family members (older women who are well respected in the villages).[ii] Generally it is a girl’s mother, grandmother, or other female relative that decides whether she will undergo FGM.[iii]


FGM is typically performed in the home. The clitoris is cut with a knife or razor blade and then ash, alcohol or local medicines (like Sorkhou) is used to clean and close the wound. In some areas, there is a trend toward medicalization where circumcisers use Betadine and bandages in an attempt to make the procedure more hygienic.[iv] FGM is typically performed when girls are very young and likely to forget the pain at

40 days or older, though the age varies depending on the region. In other areas girls range from ages three to six[v], and in some cases older girls undergo the procedure before marriage.[vi]  In Bandar Kong, a port city where some studies found that up to 70 percent of the women have undergone FGM (This study was about more than 12 years ago).[vii]

The practice of FGM has primarily been concentrated among the Shafi’i Kurds and Sunni minority of Iran primarily in rural areas such as Kurdestan, Hormozgan, Western Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, Lorestan and a handful of other regions.[viii] Hormozgan has the highest prevalence of FGM at over 60 percent.[ix] In West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, and Kurdistan the rates range from 15 to 35 percent.[x] Kameel Ahmady, who recently published a study on FGM in Iran, found there was between an 8 to 15 percent decline in the rate of FGM between 2010 and 2014 in the provinces of Hormozgan, Western Azerbaijan, Kermanshah and Kurdistan.[xi] Interviews showed that 38% of women and men aged 15-49 still support the practice of FGM because of religion, tradition and culture.[xii] Another study which was written by Stop FGM Iran found that nearly half of respondents wanted their daughters to undergo FGM in the future.[xiii] Interestingly, more than half of respondents believed a legal ban on FGM would be effective to prevent it.[xiv]


A recent study shows that the rate of FGM has declined over the past ten years across Iran. In Piranshahr, West Azerbaijan, less than 10 percent of women and girls ages 15-29 have undergone FGM, compared to 43 percent of women ages 30-49.[xv] In Javanrood, Kermanshah, only about 6 percent of women and girls ages 15-29 have undergone FGM, compared to 41 percent of women ages 30-49.[xvi] FGM among women and girls aged 15 to 29 is 30 percent lower than the rate among women aged 30 to 49, and is lower than 8 percent among girls under 10 years old.[xvii]


FGM continues to be practiced in Iran for various reasons. Women are likely to have their daughters undergo FGM in order to improve their chances of marriage. FGM is viewed as a way to ensure the chastity of a young girl, reduce sexual desire, and keep her “pure” for her future husband. Girls who have undergone FGM may be viewed as more desirable than those who have not because of the high value placed on female virginity in Iranian and Islamic culture.[xviii] Some believe after birth clitorises become big and ugly, and cutting makes them more attractive, clean, and beautiful.[xix] Rural Kurds who are followers of “Shafi’i faith believe that a woman’s sexual desire is harnessed after being cut and whatever she does subsequently become halal, or acceptable to Islam.”[xx] In some regions, the food cooked by women who have not undergone FGM is not considered to be halal, and thus may not be eaten by others. In Bandar Kong, some believe “that women are evil creatures who can only be saved from the reach of the devil by being circumcised.”[xxi] For traditional circumcisors, their compensation for performing FGM may be their only source of income and therefore an incentive to continue the practice.[xxii]


“There is much debate on the issue and many Muslim scholars have provided evidence both for and against FGM.”[xxiii] Four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence – Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali, and Shafi’i – FGM is either preferred or considered obligatory.[xxiv] Some Supreme religious leaders have spoken out in support of the practice. They generally do not characterize it as mandatory in Islam, but do recommend it.[xxv] One Hadith in particular is frequently relied on. In this Hadith, “when Prophet Mohammad was migrating, a woman named Umma Habib who circumcised women came to the Prophet. The Prophet asked her whether she still did what she had been doing? She replied, yes, oh God’s Messenger unless you order me to stop. The Prophet replied: ‘No, it is permissible (halal). Just be careful not to cut deep. A little and that make the woman’s skin shining and smooth and dearer to her husband.”[xxvi]


FGM in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a majority Shi’a country, has lately been receiving more attention globally as a women’s rights issue. In 2014, Iran began to be recognized among the global list of countries in which FGM is present.[xxvii] But is not added in the list of UNICEF officially. For the first time Rayehe Mozafarian open special campaign to improving knowledge and by opening this campaign “stop FGM Iran”, all the efforts and field working are updating in the site and all information publish by using media. Then in the site of this campaign all news and recent activities publish in two languages, Persian and English.


The Law


While there is no specific anti-FGM law in Iran, the Islamic Penal Code prohibits bodily mutilation and can be used to combat FGM.


  • Article 664 of the Islamic Penal Code states “cutting or removing each of the two sides of the female genitalia leads to diya (compensation)[1] equal to half of the full amount of diya for a woman’s life.”[xxviii]
  • Article 386 criminalizes mutilation of the body. If the crime was intentional, it would be punished according to the retaliation (Qisas) law – the perpetrator shall be given a sentence that is equal to the crime committed.[xxix] If the crime was unintentional, the penalty may be either Diya (monetary compensation or blood money) as prescribed by Islamic law for that particular crime, or Ta’zir (where Islamic law does not prescribe a punishment for a particular crime, the punishment is left to the discretion of the judge).[xxx]
  • Article 706 makes it a crime to eliminate the sexual ability of a man or woman. Article 707 sets the penalty for that crime as full compensation (Diya or blood money).[xxxi]


Under Islamic law in Iran, girls reach the age of maturity at 9 years.[xxxii] A father or grandfather may appoint a guardian for their children in the event they may die.[xxxiii] In the event a child does not have a father, paternal grandfather, or guardian appointed by them, the court will appoint a representative to act on behalf of the child.[xxxiv] Any complaint brought on behalf of the child would have to be filed by the child’s guardian or court appointed representative.[xxxv] Since a parent or guardian would not file a complaint against themselves for FGM, the girl would have to wait until she reaches the age of maturity to file a complaint, and this would take tremendous courage to file a complaint against her family members.[xxxvi]


For general protections of their human rights, girls can also look to Articles 10, 20, and 21 of the Constitution (general protection of women’s rights); the Charter of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities (rights to life, physical integrity, protection against victimization, right to mental and physical health, and protection against family violence); and the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents (criminalization of child abuse).[xxxvii]


Rayehe Mozafarian, for the first time wrote specific article about FGM and disability and mention these two subjects together and some articles which support these two subjects. Rayehe Mozafarian and Kameel Ahmady have also suggested that FGM may be characterized as a disability under the Iranian Protection Law for People with Disabilities, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.[xxxviii] According to Mozafarian:


WHO defines Disabilities as an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions, an impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. In 2014, the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) of I.R. Iran passed a comprehensive bill on the right of persons with disabilities and the ministries of health and medical education were assigned to oversee its implementation. Under Article 1, the term person with disability is referred to ‘Those identified by the medical commission as having physical, mental or both disorders with a lasting effect on their health and general ability, limiting their independence socially and economically.’ … In 2002, the Islamic Republic of I.R. Iran assigned the Welfare Organisation to be responsible for the persons with disabilities. This organisation has various departments, such as cultural and social department which includes between all, the office of ‘family and women empowerment’ and also the office of ‘children and juveniles.’ The department of prevention and treatment of addiction includes a sub office on preventing disabilities. However the most important department working with persons with disabilities is the rehabilitation department and one of its offices is assigned to empowerment of persons with disabilities. The welfare organisation is responsible for the mutilation of women as all its departments have the power to prevent, empower, inform and eradicate FGM.”[xxxix]


Governmental Anti-FGM Interventions


While there have been close to no governmental efforts in Iran to eradicate FGM, Rayehe Mozafarian asked the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei`s view point. He has called FGM not acceptable and issued a fatwa stating that FGM is not obligatory.[xl] However, this does not go far enough, as he has characterized it as permissible. He has stated, “Today, female genital mutilation is not common among Shiites but the usage narrative show that it does not hurt if it can be done … [in certain] conditions, including compliance with health issues. But because the social norms have changed today, this action would not be acceptable…”[xli] In response to questions of whether a woman’s duty would require her to undergo FGM at her husband’s request the Ayatollah responded that, “implementation of husband’s order is obligatory for the wife if it does not have disadvantages or it is not harmful for the wife, she has to listen to her husband’s request.”[xlii]


In July of 2015, the University of Tehran (a public state-run university) and Iranian Campaign Stop FGM Iran held a conference on the subject of FGM, marking the first time that an official body connected to the government publicly remarked on this issue and governmental and official media cover the news and speak out about FGM in Iran for the first time. This event broke the silence after many years.[xliii] Experts discussed the harmful consequences of FGM, the underlying reasons for FGM, and an analysis of the linkage between FGM and Islam. DR. Bokharayee, Dr. Akbary and Mozafarian discussed that there was no religious precedent for the practice of FGM but that this was an antiquated practice simply given religious significance in order to remain pertinent.


Non-Governmental Anti-FGM Interventions


Education and Media


The prevalence of FGM in Iran has been successfully decreased in some parts through public awareness campaigns and with the help of religious leaders who have spoken out against the practice. In the western part where are near to Iraqi Kurdistan this issue decrease because Kurdish people use joint media but in the south, people talk in another language and accent and they do not have access to Kurdish media and other local media do not pay attention to this subject. By the other hand because of Iraqi-kurdish organization like wadi, Kurdish people know more about negative points of FGM. The media has been a useful tool in educating the public about FGM.


In 2014, Radio Farda in collaboration with Stop FGM Iran held the first broadcast in Farsi in which victims of FGM spoke out about the practice and its harms in their personal lives.[xliv] In the broadcast a woman tells of how her marriage ultimately failed because of her inability to enjoy sexual intimacy due to her having undergone FGM. Later, her mother was interviewed telling of how she regretted her decision to circumcise her daughter at a young age. The mother lamented that had she known about the detrimental impact of the practice on her daughter’s life she never would have done it. These emotional pleas were then interspersed with commentary from clergy and outside experts who warned of the detriments of the practice as well, further imploring the public to heed their warning.


Women’s rights activists such as Parvin Zabihi and Mehrangiz Kar have spoken out about FGM in media interviews.[xlv] Iraqi-Kurdish television stations have also aired TV specials about FGM in the Kurdish regions of Iran.[xlvi] An Iranian film released in 2014 also highlighted the issue of FGM. The film “Almond” tells the story of a Kurdish woman in Iran struggling with the consequences of FGM. This film brought increased attention to the issue of FGM in Iran, and was shown in the Growth Film Festival of Tehran as well as international film festivals.[xlvii]

Fatemeh Karimi has also written a book about this issues:  Tragedy of the Body, Violence against Women (2010).


The new book is recently published by H&S Media, written by Reyhaneh Zahiri and translated by Manavaz Alexandrian in the titled of “Mother of cloth dolls”. One of the story of this book is about Female Genital Mutilation in Iran[xlviii].


“For the first in Iran music video against FGM made by singer and artist Miss Chiman Rahmani, subtitled in English aired in most Kurdish TV and post on YouTube she tries to cover the issue of FGM and child forced marriage in her 6 minute long video music clip.”[xlix]


Researcher Kameel Ahmady found that using the media, including through interviews and online media of clerics and medical professionals speaking about the ill effects of the practice can influence attitudes toward FGM.[l]


Engaging Religious Leaders


Religious leaders who speak out against FGM can have a strong influence on changing attitudes toward FGM, particularly for those who believe FGM is a religious requirement. Religious leaders in Iran are divided on the issue, there are some religious leaders, including Sunni religious leaders in Iran, who have spoken out against the practice. The issue has been denounced by clerics in Iran who have denied that FGM is engrained in their brand of Islam.


FGM has been admonished by some clerics because, in addition to the physical harms that it causes women, they claim it causes a rift in the familial fabric because of the marital problems that decreased sexual desire and sexual dysfunction as a result of FGM can cause.


  • Ayatollah Khameneie: “It is permissible but not obligatory.”[li]
  • Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Fazlollah, 2010: “Our studies of the existing texts on this subject show that female circumcision is not of Islam’s doing and that it does not have an Islamic origin. Female circumcision was a ritual from the era of ignorance (the pre-Islamic era), when it was considered a way for a woman to make herself more attractive to her husband.”[lii]
  • Mala Seyyed Hasan Vazhi, West Azerbaijan: “FGM not only harms a woman’s health, but causes sexual problems in marriage which can lead husbands to ‘sin and adultery’. Female circumcision does nothing but hurt your daughter’s body. This practice must stop.’”[liii]

Rayehe Mozafarian wrote in her book the statements of these Ayatollahs:

  • Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani: “Women are not circumcised. Islam has been the subject of circumcision of the male penis. Because the women do not have this part of genital.”[liv]
  • Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: “We have ordered a ban on it.”[lv]
  • Ayatollah Saanei: “Circumcision is a tradition and it should be done only for men. It is not Wajib for women.”[lvi]
  • Mullah Talib Mudizadeh, from Bandar Pol, Hormozgan province, 2010: “Regarding the proven medical and psychological arguments about the dangers of female circumcision and availability of concrete accounts testifying that female circumcision causes frigidity and sexual problems in marriage; and also considering the fact that religion always puts great emphasis on science and the Prophet of Islam has said ‘Go in quest of science, even to China’, and most sciences have proven the disadvantages of this act and insist that it shouldn’t be performed, so it is better not to be performed. My wife (Mulavi Amineh) and I have always strictly recommended people of this port and neighboring villages not to circumcise their daughters but circumcision is good and compulsory for their sons.”[lvii]
  • Mulavi Sheikh Salahedin Charaki, from Parsiaan, Hormozgan province, 2012: “There are good reasons that female circumcision is not necessary any more. It has many disadvantages and maybe leads to disloyalty of men and even having several wives. Imam Shafi’I has two different opinions about circumcision and other Sunni imams do not believe that it is compulsory. Therefore, I think now that it has been proven that it is not good for sexual relations and the amount to which the cutting should be done is not definite, not doing it would be better and more appropriate. I have not circumcised any of my three daughters because I am afraid of the dangers to their body and soul.”[lviii]
  • Ashara al-Mubasharîn Mosque in Piranshar West Azerbaijan: “Girls’ circumcision does not have many advantages for the girl and [he] has personally warned [his] family members, relatives and friends about it. [He] has also given advice and guidance about female circumcision in [his] sermons during Friday prayers and [he] has prevented this act to be carried out on [his] own family members.”[lix]


Interventions by Civil Society and the United Nations


It was not until 2014 that FGM was first publicly discussed in Iran as a human rights issue.[lx] Before this time some activists such as Parvin Zabihi, Fatemeh Karimi (author of Tragedy of body), Rayehe Mozafarian (author of Razor and Tradition) start talking about this issue. Several Iranian students have done small-scale research on FGM in Iran, including Homa Ahadi, Paisa Rezazadeh Jalali, Elham Mandegari, and Fahimeh Hassanian, Farzaneh Daneshkhah[lxi]  and etc.[lxii]

A few Iranian activists, Rayehe Mozafarian and Kameel Ahmady have more recently been instrumental in raising awareness in the country by publishing books on FGM in Farsi, notable in part because “Iranian authorities had let activists research FGM in Iran and had allowed those books to be published.”[lxiii]


As early as 2010, Rayehe Mozafarian collaborated with UNFPA, organizing a workshop on FGM in Shiraz.[lxiv] In 2014, she submitted a written statement to the UN Human Rights Council on FGM, and in 2015, presented on this topic at the 59th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.[lxv] In this year she also participated as a guest speaker in Iraqi-Kurdish Parliament for the Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM[lxvi]. In 2011, Rayehe Mozafarian published the book Tigh o Sonat. She studied the relationship between FGM and various socioeconomic factors in hopes of finding correlations that might help to diminish the prevalence of the practice. She found that women who had undergone FGM and have received an education were much less likely than those who had not received any education to impose the same practice on their daughters. In addition, economic means were a strong signifier of the likelihood of being subjected to FGM with lower income being highly correlated with incidence of FGM, and families with more financial security being less likely to impose the practice on their daughters.


In her studies found that, “there were significant relation[ships] between Female Genital Mutilation and the following independent variables: job, education, experience of Female Genital Mutilation in the family, the use of using media by women, sexual control of women, attitude of women, age of the women and marriage.”[lxvii] The she continue writing articles and reports and open special campaign. For the first time she could attract governmental attraction and manage several meetings with ministry of women`s affairs, national reference of children`s rights of justice ministry.


Kameel Ahmady published a comprehensive study about FGM in Iran in English in 2015, based on surveys and interviews of around 4,000 women and 1,000 men in Iran over the course of six years. His research produced similar findings that “…a woman’s educational attainment is one of the important factors to influence whether the daughter would be genitally mutilated or not. …[H]ighly educated women prefer not to victimize their daughter in this way; the lower the educational attainment, the more likely a mother is to follow the tradition blindly, considering it a social norm or religious duty.”[lxviii]


He further found that the rate of FGM seemed to be declining each year, and attributed this to several factors: changing times and modern life, elderly traditional circumcisers not being replaced by a younger generation of practitioners, wider media coverage of FGM, greater access to media including through technology, migration from villages to towns, greater access to education among youth, less interest in religion among youth, and lack of willingness by younger generations to accept FGM.[lxix] Through surveys measuring attitudinal change of mothers toward FGM, he saw a big change in favor of ending FGM.[lxx] Ahmady attributed the decline of FGM in Iran in part to awareness raising campaigns.[lxxi] Educating each new generation about the harms of FGM was effective in deterring them from subjecting their daughters to FGM.


As part of his study, Ahmady also implemented small scale pilot interventions to address FGM. The pilot programs started out providing medical care, and increasingly used awareness raising campaigns, lobbying, and networking to build support for anti-FGM efforts especially among religious and community leaders, as well as men and women.[lxxii] They “used social events as a potential platform e.g. weddings, Quran lessons and funerals.”[lxxiii] Ahmady’s team conducted follow up visits to the villages twice annually to assess the impact of their interventions.[lxxiv] Effective communication with the local population and identifying local individuals from the communities to carry out the work were helpful to win support from the communities.[lxxv] Involvement of religious leaders was also influential especially for those groups insisting that FGM is a requirement of Islam.[lxxvi] He noted that religious leaders “need to be persuaded to make a proclamation against FGM in order to empower their communities in the struggle to end the practice. The pilot intervention has provided a platform for religious leaders to speak out against the ritual.”[lxxvii] His team also worked to “convince the public and especially mothers not to mutilate their daughters. We have been visiting and talking to clergymen, also important part of this work.”[lxxviii] As a result of these efforts, Ahmady concluded that awareness raising campaigns and advocacy are critical to change attitudes toward FGM and help eradicate the practice, though these must be part of holistic efforts to address FGM along with support by government officials and religious leaders.


Other grassroots efforts to address FGM are also growing in Iran. The Azarmehr Association of the Women of Kurdistan in Iran, an association working on women’s rights issues, recently started addressing the issue of FGM.[lxxix] Kurdish university students also started as association against FGM, and though they were not issued a permit to operate this association, this elevated the discussion on FGM in the Kurdish regions.[lxxx] A local campaign against FGM has also been launched in the Kermansheh and Kurdish provinces in Iran including trainings for women on the harmful consequences of FGM.[lxxxi] The Stop FGM Middle East campaign has also been active in publicizing and raising awareness about the issue of FGM in Iran and efforts to eradicate it.[lxxxii] At a family consulting center in Kermansheh in Iran, Elham Hosseini and Osman Mahmoudi hold educational classes for women and parents with young children about FGM. It is also training psychology students to educate others about FGM and combat the practice. The center offers psychotherapy for women who have undergone FGM, and couples who have marital problems due to FGM.[lxxxiii] At the Hamraz Consulting Center in Javanrood, service providers have provided life skills trainings for more than 1,300 housewives and educate women about the consequences of FGM in order to prevent future occurrences of FGM.[lxxxiv]2011 marked one of the first times FGM was publicly discussed in Iran, at a national congress on health education in Tabriz.[lxxxv]

To reach out to health care professionals, Osman Mahmoudi and Muhammad Rauf Amini published a book on FGM in the first half of 2016. In the first step more than 1000 copies of this book were distributed during Ramadan month among doctors, midwives, psychologists and counselors who live in the cities of Javanrood, Paveh, Rawansar and Salas. The booklet has been produced to increase awareness and understanding of some of the issues around FGM. [lxxxvi]

Following the English publication of Ahmady’s research, many international news outlets caught wind of the practice of FGM in Iran bringing international attention to this issue. The UN has also begun putting pressure on Iran to address FGM. In June 2014, the UN Human Rights Council placed international pressure on Iran to recognize the occurrence of FGM within its borders and to seek to abolish it.[lxxxvii] In response to submissions by civil society,[lxxxviii] the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern about FGM, calling on Iran to “take measures to enforce article 664 of the Islamic Penal Code and to stop, effectively, the practice of female genital mutilation throughout the country.”[lxxxix] The primary mode of change has been brought about in Iran as a result of increasing public discussion, awareness, and grassroots movements.[xc]


Challenges to Ending FGM


While in Iran there are encouraging signs that the rate of FGM has steadily declined over the past few decades in some parts, there are challenges in addressing FGM that need to be overcome.


As a result, there is little institutional push to outlaw or address the practice or to support for civil society or activists combating FGM. Many Iranians remain unaware that it is practiced there, and there is little formal research about the practice in Iran.[xci]


Due to the aforementioned reasons, even though the Penal Code bans FGM and bodily mutilation, the provisions are not enforced to address FGM. No cases of FGM have been brought in Iran. In addition, because of the familial nature of the crimes, victims do not file charges against their own parents.[xcii]


While some religious leaders have spoken out against FGM in Iran, there is no consensus among all religious leaders in Iran. In addition, fatwas issued by local leaders have a limited reach – those issued in one area may not have an impact in other provinces or villages.[xciii]


In addition, while there has been some media coverage of FGM and media can be useful as a combative tool, many media outlets do not address FGM for fear of backlash or facing criminal penalties.[xciv] Stop FGM Iran published a letter to the media to speak out more and pay attention to FGM[xcv]. Nowadays most of local media which kept silence have started to speak out without previous considerations.



The experiences of Iran in addressing FGM can lend themselves to many lessons learned and best practices. Lessons learned and best practices which may be useful for civil society to address and prevent FGM in Indonesia include the following:


Using the Law

  • Utilize and advocate for holistic approaches to combat FGM.
  • Advocate for an anti-FGM law, or incremental bans on FGM.
  • Bring together women’s rights activists and lawyers to conduct an analysis of the legal framework in Indonesia and identify other laws that may be used to protect women and girls from FGM. For example, are there other laws relating to assault, bodily mutilation or child abuse that are not necessarily specific to FGM under which women or girls can nevertheless seek protections or legal redress? If such laws exist, consider whether strategic litigation would be useful and/or desirable to enforce those laws or raise awareness around the issue of FGM.
  • If other such laws exist, conduct educational training for prosecutors and police on how to address FGM in the context of those laws and to collect evidence.
  • If other such laws exist, advocate for changes in any law that may require a victim to file a complaint relating to FGM on her own behalf. A public prosecutor should file such claims even if the victim is not involved in the case, as victims may be afraid to file complaints against their family members.



  • Advocate to ensure women and girls have meaningful access to primary, secondary, and tertiary education of women and girls.
  • Conduct education and awareness raising campaigns about the harms of FGM, and FGM as a human rights violation. Such campaigns should target various groups including women, men, youth, religious and community leaders, government officials, medical professionals, and other relevant stakeholders. Campaigns should be tailored to each target group, and address the beliefs and attitudes underlying the practice of FGM particularly including beliefs that FGM is a religious requirement. Campaigns should be implemented by members of the local community to ensure support by the target groups. These campaigns should not just be limited to the health complications associated with FGM, but should also address FGM as a human rights violation, in order to avoid inadvertently contributing to medicalization. Utilize social events as possible platforms to address FGM, such as weddings and Quran lessons.
  • Educate medical professionals, traditional circumcisers and birth attendants about the harmful consequences of FGM. Advocate for improved socioeconomic development and opportunities for medical professionals (and traditional circumcisers), so they do not need to rely on income from performing FGM. Train traditional birth attendants to obtain licenses to perform public health work and obtain gainful employment other than performing FGM.
  • Advocate for curricula in primary and secondary schools that address gender and human rights issues.


Engaging Government Officials

  • Advocate with the Ministry of Women and other relevant ministries that already work to address violence against women to incorporate FGM.


Engaging Religious Leaders

  • Advocate with and sensitize religious leaders to make proclamations against FGM and speak out against the practice. Highlight medical evidence that FGM is harmful, and link with Islamic principles that support the use of scientific evidence.
  • Share best practices from other countries such as Iran, including proclamations against FGM by religious clergy, with government officials and religious leaders in Indonesia.


Engaging the Medical Community

  • Advocate for medical associations to speak out against FGM.


Engaging the United Nations

  • Seek support from the UN Joint Programme on FGM/C to address FGM in Indonesia, particularly now that the UN has published data about FGM in Indonesia. Seek to leverage additional financial resources, such as through the United Nations system (e.g. UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women).
  • Raise the issue of FGM in shadow reports to UN bodies.


Media Engagement

  • Train journalists and media houses to address issues of violence against women including FGM.
  • Use innovative media approaches to publicize and raise awareness about issues of FGM including traditional press and magazines; television and radio programs and interviews; social media; films including documentaries, short films, and web videos; songs and music videos; plays and theatrical performances; multiple platform advertisements; comics and infographics; and storytelling. Media approaches should utilize media that will most effectively reach populations that practice FGM, and should be culturally and contextually relevant. Media coverage involving religious clerics and medical professionals speaking out against FGM may be particularly effective in discouraging the practice.


Data Collection

  • Advocate for Indonesian government officials to collect more regular and comprehensive data on the prevalence of FGM, underlying beliefs, and trends, including in DHS surveys.
  • Capitalize on availability of new data on FGM in Indonesia, international observances such as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM and other international platforms such as the Sustainable Development Goals to persuade government officials and religious leaders to address FGM, and to raise awareness about the issue.



  • Build a network of civil society organizations and other stakeholders to advocate against FGM.
  • Explore new partnerships to advocate against FGM such as with universities, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).


Community Level Interventions

  • Promote community driven interventions, and/or integrated socioeconomic development approaches.
  • Focus community interventions where FGM is most prevalent.
  • Target interventions toward young generations, newly married families with girls at risk of FGM, and pregnant females or new mothers with girls at risk of FGM to discourage them from subjecting their daughters to FGM and thereby prevent FGM. Promote positive family values.
  • Implement programs such as ‘safe space’ programs to empower women including through life skills training, and building social networks and support groups for women.
  • Encourage a coordinated effort on the part of the local government, civil society, religious leaders, health workers, and other stakeholders.
  • Incorporate anti-FGM messages into other services provided such as health services, rights education, or other work aimed at addressing violence against women.



  • Advocate for improved socioeconomic development, especially for women and in areas where FGM is most prevalent.
  • Anticipate and plan how to address or respond to any backlash against efforts to eradicate FGM.
  • Establish an anonymous reporting hotline to deal with cases of FGM.
  • Identify champions or public figures who would be willing to speak out against FGM and champion advocacy against the practice.
  • Identify positive deviants – those who oppose FGM or refuse to subject their daughters to FGM – and interview them and encourage them to share their stories. Community or religious leaders who are positive deviants can be especially influential.
  • Connect religious leaders, journalists and media houses, and other positive deviants who oppose FGM or are friendly to women’s rights issues in order to build a social support network for them, that will reduce the possibility they may be stigmatized or face backlash individually for their actions. Provide a safe space and platform for them to safely speak out against the practice.



[1] Diya or blood money is the monetary compensation prescribed by Islamic law.

[i] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[ii] Id.; Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[iii] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[iv] Written Statement Submitted by Verein Südwind Entwicklungspolitik, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status, UN Human Rights Council, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/26/NGO/92 (6 June 2014), available at

[v] Id.

[vi] Id.

[vii] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[viii] Id.

[ix] Id.

[x] Id.

[xi] Id.

[xii] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xiii] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xiv] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xv] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xvi] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xvii] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran 45 (2015), available at

[xviii] Id.

[xix] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xx] Hajir Sharifi, Study Reveals Shocking FGM Prevalence in Iran, Rudaw (7 Mar. 2015), available at

[xxi] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xxii] Id.

[xxiii] Id.

[xxiv] Id.

[xxv] Id.; Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xxvi] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xxvii] Stephen Schwartz, Female Genital Mutilation a Growing Problem in Iran, The Weekly Standard (20 January 2015), available at

[xxviii] Tehran University organized First Conference about Female Genital Mutilation, available at;; Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xxix] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xxx] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at; Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xxxi] Tehran University organized First Conference about Female Genital Mutilation, available at; Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xxxii] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at;

[xxxiii] Id.

[xxxiv] Id.

[xxxv] Id.;

[xxxvi] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xxxvii] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xxxviii] Id.; Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xxxix] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[xl] Iran, Stop FGM Middle East, available at

[xli] Id.

[xlii] Rayehe Mozafarian, The point of view of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Female Genital Mutilation (7 June 2014), available at

[xliii] Tehran University organized First Conference about Female Genital Mutilation, available at

[xliv] FGM in Iran: Blade of Islam or patriarchal custom – an interview with scholars, activists and survivors, Stop FGM Middle East (4 December 2014), available at

[xlv] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at;

[xlvi] Iran, Stop FGM Middle East, available at

[xlvii]  Rayehe Mozafarian and Hannah Wettig, Iranian Film tackles Female Genital Mutilation (15 December 2014), available at


[xlix] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at;

[l] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[li] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[lii] Iran, Stop FGM Middle East, available at

[liii] Emma Batha, Anthropologist Reveals FGM Practised in Western, Southern Iran, Reuters (26 June 2015), available at

[liv] Id.

[lv] Id.

[lvi] Id.

[lvii] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[lviii] Id.

[lix] Id.

[lx] FGM in Iran: Blade of Islam or patriarchal custom – an interview with scholars, activists and survivors, Stop FGM Middle East (4 December 2014), available at

[lxi] and

[lxii] Id.

[lxiii] Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Female Genital Mutilation Practised in Iran, Study Reveals, The Guardian (4 June 2015), available at

[lxiv] Violations of Girls’ Rights Child Marriage and FGM in the I.R. Iran, Südwind (2014), available at

[lxv] (see original citations to human rights council and CRC);

[lxvi] and

[lxvii] Rayehe Mozafarian, A survey on social-cultural factors related to Female Genital

Mutilation: A case study of age 15-49 in Qeshm Island, Shiraz University (2011).

[lxviii] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[lxix] Id.

[lxx] Id.

[lxxi] FGM in Iran: Blade of Islam or patriarchal custom – an interview with scholars, activists and survivors, Stop FGM Middle East (4 December 2014), available at

[lxxii] Id.

[lxxiii] Id.

[lxxiv] Id.

[lxxv] Id.

[lxxvi] Id.

[lxxvii] Id.

[lxxviii] Kameel Ahmady, A Letter from Iran, Stop FGM in Kurdistan (January 2010), available at

[lxxix] Iran, Stop FGM Middle East, available at

[lxxx] Id.

[lxxxi]  New publication about FGM in Persian (13 February 2015), available at

[lxxxii] Iran, Stop FGM Middle East, available at

[lxxxiii]  Press Statement: FGM in Iran needs to be put on international agenda (9 June 2015), available at

[lxxxiv]  Osman Mahmoudi, Tackling FGM in Iran: Education about FGM during life skill classes for housewives (5 August 2014), available at

[lxxxv]  Iran, Stop FGM Middle East, available at (citing link to congress on health education); see also T. Pashaei, F. Majlessi, A. Rahimi and A. Ghartappeh, Prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation and the Effects of Health Education Based on Behavioral Intention Model on Attitudes and Behaviors in Women Referring to Health Centers in Ravansar-Iran, in The First International and 4th National Congress on Health Education and Promotion (16-19 May 2011, Tabriz, Iran), Health Promotion Perspectives: An International Journal, Vol. 1, Supplement 2011, available at


[lxxxvii] Hajir Sharifi, Study Reveals Shocking FGM Prevalence in Iran, Rudaw (7 Mar. 2015), available at



[xc] In the Name of Tradition. Prod. Kameel Ahmady (2015), available at

[xci] Kameel Ahmady, A Letter from Iran, Stop FGM in Kurdistan (January 2010), available at

[xcii] Stephen Schwartz, Female Genital Mutilation a Growing Problem in Iran, The Weekly Standard (20 January 2015), available at

[xciii] Kameel Ahmady, A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Iran (2015), available at

[xciv] Id.


Female Genital Mutilation footmark in south of Iran

Female Genital Mutilation footmark in south of Iran




Female Genital Mutilation footmark in south of Iran

On the occasion of International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, we are featuring a background on the practice of FGM in the province of Hormozgan in Southern Iran. Our partner Rayehe Mozafarian who has done a study in that region is reporting about her encounters with traditional midwifes.

By Rayehe Mozafarian

Minab is a city in and the capital of Minab County, Hormozganprovince, Iran. The population are mainly Shia`a Muslims but a Sunni minority does exist.Iran1 Kopie

Women’s circumcision is one of the health problems in some societies. It is the excision and removal of different sections of women’s genitalia based on cultural aims or nonmedical reasons, which are done in four different grades.

More than 13 years ago, Homa Ahadi published a study about “the prevalence of FGM in Minab”. This study was performed to determine the knowledge and attitude of women in fertility age in Minab about women’s circumcision in the year 2002. In this descriptive-analytic study, 400 women in Minab health centers were selected as samples by non-accidental and objective-oriented sampling. Needed data were gathered by a researcher-made questionnaire to assess knowledge and attitude through a semi structured interview and also by checklist. Data were analyzed by T-test, chi-square and one-sided variance analysis. Prevalence of circumcision were 70%. Between them 87.4% were grade one and 12.6% were grade two. Mean and standard deviation of knowledge number in circumcised group were 2.1 ± 1.6 and in uncircumcised group were 3.05 ± 1.7. The knowledge level in majority of samples were weak and their attitude were «No Idea». Results indicates the necessity for informing people in the region and raising awareness about FGM.Iran4 Kopie

Following this research, I traveled to several villages in the area to find more information that FGM is still happening there or not. The most important factor in promoting this tradition can be considered the presence of women in the name of Daye and mothers who still tend to circumcise their daughters. There are restraints on factors that can help to stop this practice in the areas of: public awareness through the media, doctors, teachers and above all religious leaders.

Although Female Genital Mutilation continues to varying degrees in Hormozgan province, but some other local Daye are not engaged to perform this action any more. In an interview with some Dayes they claimed that about thirty years ago they were eager to do this, but because of the advices of doctors and Shiite religious local leaders this operation is not common anymore at this time, although they use their skills for maternal health care for pregnant women. Most of them explain the way they conduct the operation with their hands and the tip of the index finger. They cut a small part of the tip of the clitoris. The prevalence of FGM in Iran can be estimated to be much higher among the Sunnis than among Shiites. In the villages with Sunni population, most of girls still circumcise in the name of tradition. The highest prevalence of FGM in Iran is estimated in Hormozgan province and on Qeshm Island. There is at least one Daye in most villages of this island who have enough experience to circumcise.

Iran3 KopieDuring my travel for finding more information about FGM, I understood that the driver and his wife are Shiites and they have decided to circumcise their 4 years old daughter. Daye refused them two times because the size of her clitoris was not big enough and it was “not ready yet”. I went to visit the Daye with the Driver`s wife and their daughter. This Daye is Sunni and still circumcises the girls. She believes that although circumcision is not mentioned in the Quran girls should be circumcised like boys.

Razor and betadine are the tools which she uses. She explains that she cuts the skin piece of the tip of the clitoris. The place of cutting is slightly bleeding. Then she cleans the clitoris with alcohol and betadine. It will be burning during urination for 3 or 4 days. She believes that FGM leads the girls to become true Muslims and during their lives, they can read the Quran and the food and water that is taken from them, is lawful. She circumcised their daughters too: “I circumcise my daughter then the other girls, I circumcise my granddaughters then the others. In this tradition, there is no difference between Sunni and Shiite. The followers of both religions circumcise their daughters.” She takes 1.5 dollars for each operation. If someone cannot pay this amount, she will do it for free.

Most Daye have learned to do FGM from their mother or grandmother, because there was no doctor and physician in the past. The girls are circumcised at different ages and this difference depends on how large or small the clitoris is.Iran5 Kopie

I asked the driver`s wife why she so insists on circumcising her daughter? She explains that because this operation is an ancient tradition and “I like to circumcise my daughter as I was circumcised.” She also believes that this tradition is used to prevent caprice. She says: “The person must be satisfied to work with razor”.

6th of February is an International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. 29 countries are on the list of countries where this practice is still widespread. Iran and more than 10 other countries are not considered on the list of WHO and UNICEF. In some areas of south and west of Iran FGM is still happening. But some articles projected in the Penal Code can be used to criminalize FGM:

Article 704: Removing the power of male reproduction or ejaculation or removing women pregnancy or eliminate sexual pleasure is liable to Arsh*.

Arsh: The amount of money as financial compensation or body that is not specified in the law and will pay to damaged person.

Article 707: The complete elimination of intercourse cause complete Diyya (Blood money).

Diyya is the financial compensation paid to the victim or heirs of a victim in the cases of murder, bodily harm or property damage. It is an alternative punishment to Qisas (equal retaliation).

Article 708: The elimination or permanent or temporary impairment of the senses or other interests, Such as touch, sleep and periods as well as the creation of diseases such as tremors, thirst, hunger, fear and fainting is liable to Arsh.

Article 664: Cutting and removing any of the sides of the female genital organs is result in half full Diyya and cutting and removing part of it estimate as well as punishment.