More than 40,000 Iranian girls under the age of 15 were married during the last calendar year in Iran, according to Iranian officials, most to older men.
The number has remained relatively constant for the last 10 years, adding up to some 420,000 girls.
The girls were wed oftentimes to men more than four times their age.
The statistics were recently detailed by the head of the regime’s Social Emergency Coordination Center, Majid Arjmandi.
According to the state-run Shahrvand newspaper, Arjmandi also said in recent years there were at least 360 girls under the age of 14 who were married to older men, with some of the girls below the age of 10.
Researchers say the real numbers of young Iranian girls married to older men is much higher than the official statistics.
Farideh Karimi, a member of the opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, called the regime's marriage laws "institutionalized pedophilia."
Karimi pointed out while Iran is a state party to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states 18 is the minimum age of adulthood and thus marriage, Iran’s Civil Code (Article 1,041) allows girls to marry at the age of 13, and boys at the age of 15. It furthermore allows girls to be married at a younger age with approval from a court.
"The mullahs' regime is trying to present its institutionalized pedophilia to the international community under the guise of national culture and customs; yet its fundamentalist laws have nothing to do with Iranian culture and are based on a fundamentalist interpretation of religion," said Karimi. "The mullahs’ laws in Iran mirror the practices of ISIS (Daesh/the Islamic State) against young girls."