Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3 para 74 (c)
Full recommendation:
To prioritize the elimination of violence against women as a public policy issue and to prevent,
investigate and punish all acts of violence against women, whether perpetrated by private or State
actors, it is recommended that the Government: Conduct research on violence against women and
to collect data concerning its prevalence.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
The Islamic Republic of Iran does not have laws specifically criminalizing domestic violence.
Article 630 of the Islamic Penal Code (2013) excludes husbands from criminal liability when they
commit murder, assault and battery against their wife if the husband catches their wife committing
a zina offence (adultery and fornication) with another man.2 Article 1105 of the Iranian Civil Code
recognizes the husband as the head of the family, which means that his orders must be respected
by his wife and children.3 ‘Disobedience’ can be used as a legal ground for battery.4 Article 1108
of the Civil Code stresses that if a wife refuses to have sex with her husband without a reasonable
excuse,5 she is not entitled to ‘spousal maintenance’.6 Although the legal minimum age for
marriage is 13 years old under Iranian law,7 girls as young as 9 lunar years can marry, subject to
parental consent and court approval.8 Therefore, 9 lunar years old married girls and older are also
subject to the Civil Code Article 1108’s obligation to fulfil the sexual needs of their husbands.
Rape is not classified as a distinct crime under Iranian law but is considered as a zina offence
without consent.9 Marital rape is not recognized as a crime at all. The legal definition for ‘coerced
zina’ is restricted to forced vaginal and anal penetration by a penis, therefore excluding other forms
of penetration, and only when the perpetrator and the victim are unmarried, therefore explicitly

1

CCPR.3.1.S.1; ESCR.2.2.S.1; ESCR.3.2.S.1; CCPR.3.1.P.1; ESCR.2.2.P.1; ESCR.2.2.P.2; ESCR.2.2.O.2
Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
3
Amnesty International, 2015, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1311112015ENGLISH.pdf
4
Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre https://iranhrdc.org/wpcontent/uploads/pdf_en/LegalCom/Womens_Rights_Commentary_389929723.pdf
5
A reasonable and valid excuse for a wife to refuse sexual relations is when the husband has contracted a venereal disease. Iran
Human Rights Documentation Centre, https://iranhrdc.org/wpcontent/uploads/pdf_en/LegalCom/Womens_Rights_Commentary_389929723.pdf
6
Amnesty International, 2015, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1311112015ENGLISH.pdf
7
Article 1041 of the Civil Code as amended up until December 2000, NGO Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the
Child, 2016, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CRC/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CRC_NGO_IRN_19809_E.pdf
8
Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre, https://iranhrdc.org/wpcontent/uploads/pdf_en/LegalCom/Womens_Rights_Commentary_389929723.pdf
9
Article 221 of the Islamic Penal Code (2013), Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre, https://iranhrdc.org/englishtranslation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
2

1

Select target paragraph3