Definition of Youth

While Iran has no national youth policy, the article Youth policy discourses in post-Revolutionary Iran (2010) emphasises the group aged 15-29 years, as used in the 2006 national census.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • --
  • 18
  • XX
  • Female
  • --
  • 15
  • XX

  • Marriageable age can vary as Islamic law ties marriageable age to other considerations, such as age of puberty. Homosexual acts illegal and punishable by death. Source: UNSD, ILGA, Nayyeri (2013)

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Iran's 2012 Penal Code stipulates the age of maturity as 9 lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys, at which time individuals are held criminally responsible. Source:  Nayyeri

Majority Age


Age of majority is fifteen lunar years for boys, and nine lunar years for girls.  Source: The Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1928)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 98.53% Male (15-24) %
  • 98.17% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 83.90%Male %
  • 79.37% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 32.90% Male (13-15) %
  • 19.50% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
2010 article explains youth policy discourses in Iran, including the recent regime.

As described in the article Youth policy discourses in post-Revolutionary Iran (2010), rather than one overarching policy, Iran youth policy is articulated through a series of cross-sectoral initiatives and measures. An example is the Mehr-e Reza Fund, which provides low-interest loans to young couples for marriage and housing, as described in the June 2009 newsletter of The Alliance Center for Iranian Studies.   A draft citizen rights charter released in November 2013 by President Hassan Rohani includes a section on youth rights, which include:

  • “Complete participation in determining their political, economic, social and cultural destiny...”
  • “Active participation in the national development process”
  • “Participation in promoting, supporting, and advancement of peace in Iran and in the world...”

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was formed in 2011 with the aim to renew sports infrastructure and improve the cultural and social life for Iran’s youth, as described on the Olympic Council of Asia website. The ministry is the result of a merge between the National Youth Organization and the Physical Education Organization, as reported by Press TV in January 2011. It is preceded by the National Youth Centre, which, according to 2010 report, was under the direction of the Supreme Council of Youth in response to an encroaching “western cultural invasion”.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
Iran has no national youth council, however The Office for Strengthening Unity (DTV) is Iran’s largest student movement. According to a 2009 Princeton University profile, its central committee is comprised of elected representatives from all universities. Its initial aim was to organise “against the influence of Marxist or Islamist-Marxist groups ”, however from 1997 advocated for reformist ideas such as political freedoms and pluralism. DTV has no formalised decision-making influence, however its factions have led youth protests, such as the Green Movement.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No documentation could be found online regarding youth spending in Iran. According to the World Bank, Iran spent 14.70% of its government expenditure and 3.71% of its GDP on education provision in 2012.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

From Youth in Iran: A Story Half Told – Values, Priorities and Perspectives of Iranian Youth (2013): Four segments of Iranian youth  
The analysis [...] revealed four distinct segments of Iranian youth, which we labelled: Non-Traditionalists, Mainstream, Conservatives and Ultra-Conservatives. The key features of each segment, including their personal values and beliefs, their demographic characteristics and the overview of their social and political attitudes [...]
  The central role of religion  
Even though the influence of Islam in Iran may have declined and the share of practising Muslims may be falling, the Young Publics study suggests that, at least for now, religion continues to play an important role in the lives of most young Iranians.
This is illustrated by the high share (93%) of those 16- to 25-year-olds who identify themselves as Muslim, and is also reflected in the vast majority of young people who consider following religious customs as very important and believe that the will of God or Allah plays a key role in determining their success in life. The latter is true for three out of four segments of Iranian youth – the Mainstream, Conservatives and Ultra-Conservatives, which together account for 82% of young people in Iran [...]
  Livelihood issues  
The importance of livelihood issues in their personal lives understandably increases further when young people leave school. For example, while ‘only’ 35% of young people between 16 and 18 cite career as one of their top two priorities in life, this share rises to 48% for 19-to 21-year-olds and grows further to 51% for those between 22 and 25.
Similarly, the oldest age group is much more likely to be aware of broader economic challenges that affect their livelihoods than their younger counterparts. Thus, 47% per cent of all 22- to 25-year-olds cite unemployment as one of the most urgent challenges for Iran in comparison with 38% of 19- to 21-year-olds and 31% of 16- to 18-year-olds. [...]
  Human Rights
The frustration with the lack of protection of human rights appears to be primarily concentrated among the most liberal youth (Non-Traditionalists), with only about a quarter of them convinced that human rights in Iran are being adequately protected. Conversely, more than half of moderate youth belonging to the Mainstream segment and two-thirds of the Conservative and Ultra-Conservative youth express little concern over human rights violations.
Furthermore, while these findings on the one hand indicate genuine differences in opinion, they may also be, partially, a product of a different understanding of the concept of human rights. Although in the survey all respondents were asked exactly the same question, the understanding of the notion of ‘human rights’ and what it entails may vary significantly between young people in different segments. These differences in understanding, if present, may be rooted in both their diverse educational background and different personal value priorities. [...]
  Freedom of expression  
First, the Young Publics study indicates that most young people clearly separate their private sphere from the public sphere when it comes to freedom of expression, with family environment, as well as close friendship circles, providing key outlets for expressing opinions.
Second, about a third of young Iranians (29% in total), on the other hand, feel that their ability to voice their views
in public is constrained. This is particularly true for the Non-Traditionalist segment of the youth, almost half of whom feel unable to express their views openly in public. [...] This is not surprising, given that Non- Traditionalists are also those young Iranians who are most likely to hold and express views that challenge the positions of the current government. In this study, the high degree of discontent with the government among this group is illustrated in various ways, for example through a high level of distrust in state institutions, their strong belief that the government does not represent their interests, and their lack of confidence in their own political efficacy.
From Iran Data Portal: Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat – The Office for Strengthening Unity (2009):
After the Cultural Revolution in 1980 when all opposition groups were purged from the universities, DTV was the only active student organization to continue. “Its major functions were limited to propaganda, political control, and ideological challenge of any oppositional voice.” It also mobilized students to serve at the front during the Iran-Iraq war. In respect to domestic politics, DTV could be regarded as part of the left- wing of the Islamic Republic and one of the supporters of Mousavi’s government during the 1980s.
From the end of the Iran-Iraq war until the 1997 presidential election, DTV, like other left-wing organizations, experienced a transformation and began to advocate reformist ideas such as political and social freedoms, increased public participation in political decision-making, and pluralism. DTV became an active member of Mohammad Khatami’s campaign for the presidency and after his landslide victory in 1997 became a member of the “Dovom-e Khordad Front”, a collection of reformist political groups. [...]
Organizationally, DTV is a central committee elected by the representatives of the student Islamic Associations of all universities. The representative of each Islamic Association is elected by its central committee, which is in turn elected by the student body of each university. Before 1997, only members of the Islamic Associations were able to participate in the election of the central committees. After 1997, Islamic Associations changed their statutes and allowed all students to vote for the members of central committees. However, after 2005, Ahmadinejad’s Ministry of Higher Education forced the Associations to limit their elections again to only their members; this produced new tensions between the government and DTV.
From Al Monitor: Proposed ‘Ministry of Marriage and Divorce’ sparks controversy (2014, 24 February):
A few other officials have said that supporting and enlightening troubled couples, separated young people and divorcees preparing to remarry should all be functions of the proposed new ministry. Still, some believe that the ministry would be redundant, duplicating the activities of the current Ministry of Sports and Youth.
[MP Ebrahim] Nekou, explaining the reasoning behind the proposal, told reporters, “The new ministry is not parallel to the existing one of sports and youth, in which the youth have basically been slighted, and sports matters have been extensively tended to. The existing ministry was expected to present projects aimed at creating more job opportunities for youth, and facilitating marriage and married life for them; this did not happen.[...]
In an interview with Iran’s MEHR news agency on Feb. 20, Abdolreza Azizi, head of the parliamentary Social Commission, expressed his objection to the proposal and to the small budget dedicated to youth affairs. Azizi stated, “Rather than establishing new ministries dedicated to youth matters, we should address existing problems and unfinished projects, and make efforts to resolve them through implementing more effective solutions.”
Azizi went on to say that sports is, above all else, the focus of the administration, claiming that athletic programs and projects absorb almost every penny of the budget intended for youth, and what remains is only a very small amount.