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Iran premier 'urges marriage at 16'

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Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged to bring down girls' marriage age to 16

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged girls to marry at the age of 16, newspapers have reported.

The president criticised the current average age of marriage of 24 to 26.

The report by the state-owned Jam-e Jam quoted Ahmadinejad as saying: “We should take the age of marriage for boys to 20 and for girls to about 16 and 17.”

Other newspapers quoted the president as putting the best ages for girls to marry at 17 or 18.

There was no explanation on the discrepancy, which is typical Iranian media.

Ahmadinejad has long sought an increase of population, rejecting family planning as a Western import.

Critics say the policy will only exacerbate to the current 9% official unemployment rate.

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