Concluding observation Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/IRN/CO/3 para 23
Full recommendation:
The State party should take steps to ensure full respect for the right to freedom of religion or
belief, including ensuring that legislation and practices fully conform to article 18 of the
Covenant. This also entails that the right of everyone to change his or her religion, if he or
she so chooses, is unconditionally and fully guaranteed. The Committee also urges the State
party to revoke article 225 of the draft Penal Code. The Committee recalls its general
comment No. 22 (1993) on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
A. Effective legal protection of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his
choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or
private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and
teaching. (Article 18.1)
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran names the Twelver Ja’fari School of Shia
Islam as the state religion and stipulates that “other Islamic schools are to be accorded full
respect, and their followers are free to act in accordance with their own jurisprudence in
performing their religious rites” (Article 12).2 Article 13 of the Constitution provides that the
Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians “are the only recognized religious minorities”
under Iranian law. Because there are no laws safeguarding the right of religious minorities to
worship, maintain places of worship or assemble, the structural exclusion of other religious
minorities leaves them without legal protection to manifest and practice their religion or
belief.
Religious minorities recognized by Articles 12 and 13 of the Constitution, have few places of
worship compared to their numbers. Only 1% of religious temples in Iran are non-Muslim.3 In
Tehran, there are about 15 churches for 43,987 Christians (one church every 2932 Christians).
Sunnis are not allowed to build new mosques in major cities, including Tehran. In addition, a
number of Sunni religious seminaries have been destroyed by the government.4 The lack of
official places of worship forces religious minorities to gather in informal assemblies inside
1

CCPR.18.1.S.1; CCPR.18.2.S.1; CCPR.18.3.S.1; CCPR.18.4.S.1
CCPR.18.1.P.1; CCPR.18.1.P.2; CCPR.18.2.P.1; CCPR.18.3.P.1; CCPR.18.4.P.1;
CCPR.18.1.O.2; CCPR.18.1.O.3; CCPR.18.1.O.4; CCPR.18.1.O.5; CCPR.18.1.O.6; CCPR.18.2.O.1; CCPR.18.2.O.2;
CCPR.18.3.O.1; CCPR.18.4.O.1; CCPR.18.4.O.2
2
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation,
http://www.iranchamber.com/government/laws/constitution_ch01.php
3
Based on Province annual data reports, as of 2018.
4
Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from All Human Rights for All in Iran, Association for Human Rights in
Kurdistan – Geneva, Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani People in Iran, Iran Human Rights Documentation
Center, OutRight International, Siamak Pourzand Foundation, Small Media, Impact Iran, 2020,
<https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CCPR_NGO_IRN_42317_E.pdf>

1

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