Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3 para 75 (c)

Full recommendation:
In order to promote and support the empowerment of women in all spheres of life, it is recommended that
the Government: Provide special programmes for women from minority groups who suffer multiple forms
of discrimination.

Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 3 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (“Iran”) stipulates that it is a duty of
the State to work towards “the abolition of all forms of undesirable discrimination and the
provision of equitable opportunities for all, in both the material and the intellectual spheres.”2
Article 20 guarantees that all citizens of Iran, men and women, enjoy the equal protection of the
law and of rights, “in conformity with the Islamic criteria.” Article 21 emphasizes that “the
government must ensure the rights of women in all respects, in conformity with Islamic criteria”.
According to Article 4 of the Constitution, the Guardian Council of Iran is entrusted with defining
and determining the framework for what specifically constitutes these so-called “Islamic criteria”
or standards. Among the 12 non-elected members of the Guardian Council, only the six male
clerics directly appointed by the Supreme Leader are responsible for this task. While the
aforementioned constitutional provisions supposedly safeguard the rights of women, including
protection from discrimination, such legal guarantees only exist as long as they are in conformity
with “Islamic criteria.” The scope for interpretation under the qualifications within the Constitution
such as “in conformity with Islamic criteria” has often resulted in provisions that discriminate
based on various protected grounds, including gender.
The Iranian Islamic Penal Code (2013) is largely based on the Government’s interpretation of
Islamic Sharia precepts and contains provisions which directly discriminate between girls and
boys under the criminal justice system. One of the most telling examples is the age of criminal
responsibility, which is set at nine lunar years for girls (equivalent to eight years, nine months) and
fifteen lunar years for boys (equivalent to fourteen years, seven months).3
Additionally, a large number of provisions under the Iranian Civil Code are discriminatory towards
women and girls based on their gender. These provisions notably include the legal age of

1

CCPR.2.1.S.1; CCPR.26.1.S.1; CCPR.27.1.S.1; CCPR.2.1.P.2; CCPR.26.1.P.1; CCPR.27.2.P.1; CCPR.2.2.O.2;
CCPR.27.2.O.2
2
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf
3
Articles 140, 146 and 147 of the Islamic Penal Code, https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamicpenal-code/

1

Select target paragraph3