Iranian authorities have approved a law to raise the age at which girls can get married without their parents’ consent to 13 from nine and for boys to 15 from 14, newspapers said Sunday.

The decision by Iran’s Expediency Council arbitration body watered down a bill passed by the reformist-dominated parliament in 2000 which tried to raise the age of consent to 15 for girls and 18 for boys to cut teenage marriages and ease criticism of Iran’s human rights record.