Concluding observations Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights
E/C.12/IRN/CO/2 para 17
Full recommendation
The Committee recommends that the State party take urgent legislative steps to specifically
criminalize domestic violence, including marital rape. It also recommends that the State party
take steps to ensure that victims of domestic violence have access to effective means of
redress and immediate protection, including through a sufficient number of safe houses.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
A. The State party should take urgent legislative steps to specifically criminalize
domestic violence, including marital rape
The Islamic Republic of Iran does not have laws which specifically criminalize 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
1

ESCR.2.2.S.1; ESCR.3.2.S.1
ESCR.2.2.P.1; ESCR.2.2.P.2
ESCR.2.2.O.2
2
Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-bookfive/
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/

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