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Ahmadinejad Urges Girls to Marry at 16


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian newspapers are reporting that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged girls to marry at the age of 16.

The president criticized the current average age of marriage of between 24 and 26.

The Sunday 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 marriage of girls at 17 or 18.

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

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

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

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