The family law in Iran, rooted in the so-called traditional Islamic law, is archaic and unjust indeed. For a woman to marry, her consent and that of her father are both needed but to terminate the marriage, the woman has no say. The right to divorce is totally and unconditionally [almost] granted to the husband.
From a woman's perspective, once married, there is no way out without her husband's consent unless there are certain circumstances such as proof of physical/emotional abuse of the wife by the husband or evidence of substance abuse on his part. Even if these circumstances happen, they are at best subjective issues decided upon in courts.
The husband, however, can terminate the marriage at any time, just with some minor legal obligations, such as paying the woman her nuptial gift and [recently in Iran] her financial share of their common life. To make matters worse, the right to custody of their children is also by default granted to man. So a man can wake up one morning, decide he wants a divorce, pay the woman her share, and raise the children himself, all done legally. This may totally ruin that woman’s life, and there is no protection in the law against it.
There are other inequities s as well. Women need their husband’s legal agreement for traveling abroad and husbands can actually prevent them from working or even leaving the house, if desired. How have women responded to this inequity? Their approach has been quite disappointing. For years, women and their families have looked for the "right man", instead of trying to gain the "right rights". In their view, the chances of a divorce when living with the "right man" are slim. Moreover, to balance their legal positions in times of dispute in their favor, they ask for an exorbitant nuptial gift that the man obviously could not pay. This way, if the woman ever wants a divorce, she could put her husband in the dilemma of either going to prison because he could not afford the nuptial gift, or giving her the permission to get a divorce and perhaps the custody of children so that in return she waives her nuptial gift.
I think the time for this temporary solution is over. Women should now try to gain the "right rights". Although they can't probably change the laws in the near future, they are legally able to add extra conditions to their marriage certificate [as a legal contract under the Iranian law]. They can ask for a unilateral right to divorce , as well as an equal right to the custody of children. Surprisingly, the majority of women, even the educated ones, are not doing this. They are still hoping that the man they are marrying is the right one, and that threats of high nuptial gift will suffice to ensure they don't get trapped in an unhappy marriage.
I believe that it's now time for all women in Iran to ask for these rights at the time of marriage. I also know that unfortunately not all women are in such a position to ask for such rights. Therefore I think it is the moral duty of all women who are in such a position, to do so, so that over time this becomes a norm in the society and no woman will be scared to ask for these rights. Then hopefully one day the nuptial gift really means what it was meant for: a simple gift given by the husband to the wife, and not a threat by the wife. Right?