Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/73/398 para 38
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur calls upon the Government to fully respect the rights of religious and
ethnic minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran and to ensure that all those who reside in the
country have equal protection before the law, regardless of ethnicity, religion or belief.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 14 of the Constitution sets out that the government and Muslims in Iran are “duty-bound
to treat non-Muslims in conformity with ethical norms and the principles of Islamic justice and
equity, and to respect their citizen rights.” Additionally, although Article 19 of the Constitution
protects the equal rights of “ethnic group or tribe” regardless or “color, race, language, and the
like” it omits an explicit provision recognizing religion or belief as a protected characteristic
against discrimination. Article 23 of the Constitution stipulates that “the investigation of
individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding
a certain belief.” 2
These protections, however, only apply to those “who refrain from engaging in conspiracy or
activity against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”3
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran names the Twelver Ja’fari School of Shia Islam
as the state religion. Only Muslim minorities (including Sunnis), Zoroastrian, Jewish and
Christian Iranians are recognized under the Constitution.4 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. Further, regulations may actively discriminate
against members belonging to unrecognized religious minorities. For instance, a new rule
proclaimed in January 2020, will only allow citizens to register as one of the country’s
recognized religions to the state-issued National Identity Card—which is required for almost all

1

CCPR.18.1.S.1; CCPR.18.2.S.1; CCPR.18.3.S.1; CCPR.18.4.S.1; CCPR.27.1.S.1; CCPR.27.2.S.1; ESCR.2.2.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.27.1.P.1; CCPR.27.1.P.2;
CCPR.27.2.P.1; CCPR.27.2.P.2; ESCR.2.2.P.2;
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; CCPR.27.1.O.2; CCPR.27.2.O.2; ESCR.2.2.O.1
2
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wpcontent/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf
3
Article 14, The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wpcontent/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf
4
Articles 12 and 13 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wpcontent/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf

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