Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran A/67/369 para 77 Full recommendation: Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur again emphasizes the need to explicitly define actions that constitute crimes against national security, and encourages the Government to guarantee the space for public criticism or advocacy through peaceful activities that are protected by international law. He calls on the Government to ensure that restrictions on freedom of expression and the right to information are “content-specific”, as called for by the Human Rights Committee in its General Comment 34 on article 19. Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1 While Article 27 of the Constitution ostensibly protects the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, the guarantee falls short of international standards set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by requiring that participants are not “in violation of the fundamental principles of Islam.” There is no clear definition or criteria that define what can be considered “fundamental principles of Islam.” Under Article 2 of the Law on Political Crimes, adopted in 2016, participation in an unauthorized assembly, even if it is peaceful, can effectively be considered a political offence.2 Unauthorised assemblies had previously been prohibited under the 1981 Law on the Activities of Parties, Populations and Political and Trade Unions and Islamic Associations or Recognised Religious Minorities.3 Those participating in peaceful unauthorised assemblies are often charged and sentenced to prison terms under Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code4 which criminalises acts of collusion and conspiration of two or more individuals to “commit crimes against the national or foreign security of the country or prepare the facilities to commit the aforementioned crimes.”5 The right to freedom of expression, recognised under Article 24 of the Constitution is similarly undermined by vague qualifications, such as being “deemed harmful to the principles of Islam or the rights of the public.” Article 40 further allows for restrictions of rights, including peaceful assembly, if their exercise is deemed “injurious to others” or “detrimental to public interests.” Similar provisions restrict the right to freedom of expression online through the criminalization 1 CCPR.19.1.S.1; CCPR.19.2.S.1; CCPR.21.1.S.1; CCPR.22.1.S.1; CCPR.21.1.P.2; CCPR.21.1.O.2; CCPR.21.1.O.3; CCPR.22.1.O.2; 2 The 2016 Law on Political Crimes, available at: https://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/968421 3 The 1981 Law on the Activities of Parties, Populations and Political and Trade Unions and Islamic Associations or Recognised Religious Minorities, available at: https://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/90226 4 The new Islamic Penal Code was introduced in 2013 for an experimental period of five years and was revised in 2016. See the most updated version of the Islamic Penal Code here on the website of the Iranian parliament: http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/print_version/845048 5 Islamic Penal Code (2013), English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penalcode-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/ 1

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