Iranian Marriage Laws for American Women

Written by k.t. parker
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Iranian Marriage Laws for American Women
American women become Iranian citizens after marrying an Iranian man. (beautiful middle eastern woman in niqab veil image by Kevin Browne from Fotolia.com)

Under Iranian law, an American woman becomes an Iranian citizen when she marries an Iranian man. As an Iranian woman, she is subject to the same laws as women born in Iran, including those governing marriage. Any children born from the marriage are Iranian. American women will require Iranian passports to enter and exit the country, and their American passports likely won't be recognised by officials of Iran. If the marriage takes place in Iran, the American passport is confiscated.

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Roles

Iranian marriage laws establish the husband as the head of the household. It is the wife's duty to submit to her husband's decisions. Both parties are expected to work together to achieve harmony for their marriage and for the welfare of their children.

Support

The husband is required to provide food, clothing, medications and shelter for the wife. If the wife is used to having a servant, the husband must provide one if he can afford the expense. If a wife doesn't perform her spousal duties, she isn't entitled to any maintenance from her husband. The woman is required to obey her husband in all areas where he has authority over her.

Duties

The duties of an American woman are the same as an Iranian woman under marriage laws in Iran. The wife must make herself attractive and sexually available to her husband, barring physical illness. She can't be alone with another man, nor accept gifts from other men without her husband's permission. She must obtain her husband's permission to leave the home, travel out of the country or to attend a function without him, including a family member's funeral. If the husband is unavailable, the woman must get permission from the local prosecutor to travel.

Divorce

Iran does permit divorce. A husband may divorce his wife for any reason. A wife is allowed to file for divorce if her husband is insane, is infertile after five years of marriage, not providing maintenance, receives a five-year or longer prison sentence, keeps bad company, takes another wife without the first wife's permission or disappears for six months or longer.

Children

Children are usually regarded as the man's responsibility. In the event of divorce, the woman might obtain custody if her husband is proven unfit or if the child is a boy under 2 or a girl under 7. If the wife remarries, she must relinquish custody to her ex-husband or his family members, unless a court rules otherwise. An American woman can renounce her Iranian citizenship upon divorce or death of her Iranian husband, but the children remain Iranian citizens. If she is granted custody after her husband's death, the woman must receive permission from the paternal grandfather to take her children out of Iran. If the American is no longer living as an Iranian citizen, she can't get custody of her children if the father dies.

Considerations

According to the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Interests Section at the Embassy of Switzerland, located in Tehran, is only able to offer limited services to American citizens living in Iran if they are recognised as Iranian nationals. Iranian officials can deny Americans with Iranian citizenship access to the embassy.

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