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This study is a step towards gaining a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of temporary marriage (‘TM’) and its role in promoting early child marriage (‘ECM’) in Iran. This article reveals that traditional families wish to control sexual behaviour and avoid social pressures; for example, when parents disapprove of mixed gatherings of youth and so decide to make these boys and girls mahram to one another through TM.
The following article reveals that, while on the one hand TM plays a role in legalising illicit relationships, on the other hand it facilitates ECM in Iran. The article emphasises that ECM is not only a by-product of temporary marriage, but also a discourse that stigmatises the younger generation in various ways. While religion is a contributory factor to TM and ECM, ECM is more about control and power in an environment where a patriarchal society and a masculine culture dictate to the vulnerable segments of the population.
Due to the cultural and religious sensitivity of the research topic and the difficulty of reaching samples, probability sampling has been used. Theoretical saturation and data saturation were achieved after some interviews. More interviews were conducted, however, to make the results more reliable. 35% interviewees were men and 65% were women. Data were collected using free and in-depth interview techniques. Major categories, sub-categories and concepts were identified by implementing open coding, and simultaneously with data collection.