Similarly, the right to freedom of expression, recognised under Article 24 of the Constitution, is restricted if it is “deemed harmful to the principles of Islam or the rights of the public”. Article 40 of the Constitution further allows for the restriction 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 criminalisation of vaguely worded offences, such as the “dissemination of lies” and what is deemed to offend “public morality and chastity”.8 The 1986 Press Law and its subsequent amendments also significantly obstruct the right to freedom of expression, particularly for the media.9 The law mentions that publications should “duly [observe] Islamic criteria and the best interests of the community”. It also provides twelve conditions under which the press might be censored, including “publishing heretical articles”, “spreading fornication and forbidden practices”, and “propagating and spreading overconsumption”.10 These restrictions are reiterated in the revised version of the Islamic Penal Code11 which was adopted in 2013. For instance, those participating in peaceful unauthorised assemblies can be sentenced to prison terms on the charges of ��gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code),12 “forming a group composed of more than two people with the purpose of disrupting national security” (Article 498) 13 and/or “membership of a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” (Article 499). Other criminal charges include “spreading propaganda against the system”, 14 conspiring against the State,15 encouraging persons to “violate public morals”16 as well as satire.17 Similar vaguely worded provisions criminalise acts, such as swearing at18 or insulting19 “the Great Prophet of Islam”, as well as “sowing corruption on earth”.20 Such acts can be punished with the death penalty. All the aforementioned restrictions fail to meet requirements set by international standards, including the principles of legality and requirements that require limitations of rights to be necessary, proportionate and in pursuit of one of a limited number of narrowly-drawn legitimate 8 “Islamic Republic of Iran: Computer Crimes Law,” ARTICLE19, 2012. The Press Law and its subsequent amendments up until 2002 is available at: 10 Iranian Press Law, Article 6. 11 The Islamic Penal Code available at: 12 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: 13 Article 498 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 14 Article 500 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 15 Article 610 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 16 Article 639 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 17 Article 700 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 18 Article 262 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 19 Article 513 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 20 Article 286 Islamic Penal Code 2013. 9 2

Select target paragraph3