2018 population growth rate


Estimated prevalence among girls and women

Unknown. Small scale studies suggest varying prevalence rates in different regions. A study showed that 55.7% of women in Ravansar had undergone female genital cutting (FGC). In Hormozgan, southern Iran, 68% had undergone FGC.

Source: Pashaei et al and Dehghankhalili et al

Type practised

Girls in Iran commonly undergo Type I and II FGC, according to small scale studies.

Source: Südwind


In some regions, girls are cut at birth, whilst in other provinces girls may be cut around age seven, up to the age of 10.

Source: Pashaei et al and Südwind


Traditional midwives.

Source: Pashaei et al

Legal status

Iranian law does not mention FGC specifically, but does punish mutilation of the body. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran released a fatwa in June 2014 saying that neither female nor male circumcision was obligatory, but it did not condemn the practice.

National progress

  • Historically, the international community has not recognised FGC as an issue in Iran.
  • Efforts to end the practice have come primarily from activists that go door-to-door speaking to girls and families.
  • There are calls for a comprehensive study into the practice.

Ongoing challenges

  • Small scale research has found a correlation between the continuation of cutting and levels of education, so access to education is one ongoing challenge.
  • Religious leaders in Iran have varying views on FGC. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei released a fatwa in 2014 stating the FGC is permissible but not obligatory.

Source: Stop FGM Middle East

Human Development Index ranking

60 in 2018 index, based on 2017 data.

Infant mortality rate

13 deaths per 1,000 live births (2016).

Maternal mortality rate

25 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015).

Source: Human Development Index

Trends in FGC prevalence

Research on FGC in Iran is scarce, so trends in prevalence are unknown.

Prevalence breakdown

By region

Information on prevalence by region is limited, however 70% of FGC is thought to occur in: Kurdistan, Western Azarbaijan, Kermanshah, Illam, Lorestan and Hormozghan.

Research by Kameel Ahmady found the highest prevalence of FGC in Iranian Kurdistan.

Source: Südwind

Practising religious groups

FGC is practised by: Sunni Shaf’i Muslims and Shi’a Muslims.