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Iran’s President Urges Cabinet to Curb 'Honor Killings'

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the inauguration of the new parliament in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May, 27, 2020.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on his cabinet Wednesday to quickly adopt laws aimed at curbing so-called honor killings after a father was arrested this week for allegedly murdering his 13- or 14-year-old daughter.

Reza Ashrafi was arrested for allegedly killing his daughter, Romina Ashrafi, with a farm sickle while she was sleeping after she fled her parents’ home with an older man.

Reza Ashrafi reportedly beheaded his daughter in the town of Talesh, about 320 kilometers northwest of Tehran, shocking the nation and drawing widespread attention on social media platforms.

It is rare for teenage girls in rural areas of Iran to run away with their boyfriends, but

Romina Ashrafi fled her home to be with 34-year-old Bahamn Khavari, angering her father.

She was found five days later and was taken to a police station, where her father picked her up and took her back home, despite reportedly telling police she was fearful of a violent reaction from her father.

There is a lack of information on honor killings in Iran. Iranian law allows girls to marry after the age of 13, although the average age of marriage for Iranian women is 23.

An undetermined number of women and girls in Iran are killed every year by their male relatives under the pretense of defending their honor for actions viewed as violations of conservative Islamic customs on love and marriage.

While the precise number of the so-called honor killings in Iran is not known, a Tehran police official reported in 2014 that nearly 20% of the murders in the country the year before were honor killings.

Hovigh District Governor Kazem Razmi told the Islamic Republic’s official news agency, IRNA, on Tuesday an investigation into the case was underway and that details would be made public.

The Iranian judiciary said the case will be tried in a special court. Under current law, Romina Ashrafi’s father faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.