Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/28/70 para 92
Full recommendation:
He urges the authorities to recognize that freedom of religion or belief entails the freedom to
choose a religion or belief, and that measures restricting eligibility for civil, political, social or
economic privileges, or imposing special restrictions on the practices or manifestations of the
beliefs of other faiths violate the prohibition of discrimination based on religion or belief and the
guarantee of equal protection under article 26 of the ICCPR.
Assessment drafted using Impact Iran indicators1
The Islamic Republic of Iran does not guarantee the rights of members of religious minorities to
choose a religion or belief or to practice and manifest their faith.
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. Article
19 of the Constitution guarantees that all people enjoy equal rights, “whatever the ethnic group
or tribe to which they belong” and that “color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any
privilege”.3 Article 20 adds that “All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy
the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in
conformity with Islamic criteria”. However, the Constitution omits an explicit provision
recognizing religion or belief as a protected characteristic against discrimination. 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. Sunnis are not allowed to build new mosques in major
cities, including Tehran. In addition, a number of Sunni religious seminaries have been destroyed
1
CCPR.18.1.S.1; CCPR.18.2.S.1; CCPR.18.3.S.1; CCPR.26.1.S.1; CCPR.27.1.S.1; CCPR.27.2.S.1
CCPR.18.1.P.1; CCPR.18.1.P.2; CCPR.18.2.P.1; CCPR.18.3.P.1; CCPR.26.1.P.1; CCPR.27.1.P.1; CCPR.27.1.P.2;
CCPR.27.2.P.1; CCPR.27.2.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.26.1.O.1;
CCPR.27.1.O.2; CCPR.27.2.O.2
2
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wpcontent/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf
3
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wpcontent/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf

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