New study reveals female genital mutilation is practiced in Iran

A woman wearing a niqab in Iran’s Hormozgan province, which has the highest incidence of FGM in the country. Niqabs are only worn in southern provinces. HENGHAMEH FAHIMI/AFP/Getty Images

The first authoritative study on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iran has found that the practice is carried out in four of the country’s major provinces. Officials are reportedly silent on the matter, however. The research, conducted by social anthropologist Kameel Ahmady, who over 10 years spoke to around 3,000 Iranian women who have experienced FGM in Iran, as well as 1,000 men. His research was published to coincide with the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, observed every year on June 4. His research found that FGM is mostly practiced by the Shafi’i sect of Sunni Muslim Iranians, a minority in the Shia-dominated country, and only rarely occurs within the Shia population. “FGM is practiced in Iran in some cases to tame girls’ sex drive before marriage; it is made to preserve their chastity,” Ahmady reportedly said. “The attitude of officials and authorities is that FGM doesn’t exist in Iran. The Iranian public is also largely ignorant about the subject.” The practice affects millions of women and girls worldwide, and its detrimental health effects are well documented. In Iran, the practice, referred to as Khatne or Sonat, is usually performed outside of a hospital  without anesthesia or prior consent by amateur midwives.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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