Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic
of Iran A/HRC/43/61 para 68(d)
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government, the judiciary and the parliament:
Pending its abolishment, remove the death penalty as punishment for all offences other than the
most serious crimes, which involve intentional killing, and ensure that all individuals sentenced
to death for offences other than intentional killing have their sentences commuted.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
In its latest General Comment on Article 6, the Human Rights Committee explicitly stipulated
that the term “the most serious crimes” must “be read restrictively and appertain only to crimes
of extreme gravity, involving intentional killing. Crimes not resulting directly and intentionally
in death […], although serious in nature, can never serve as the basis, within the framework of
Article 6, for the imposition of the death penalty. In the same vein, a limited degree of
involvement or of complicity in the commission of even the most serious crimes, […], cannot
justify the imposition of the death penalty.”2
The death penalty continues to be applied in the Islamic Republic of Iran to a wide range of
offences that do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes”, in other words, crimes that do
not involve intentional killing,3 in contravention with Article 6 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights. For example, the death penalty may be applied in some cases of
adultery,4 for certain cases of consensual same-sex intercourse between men,5 drug related
offences or repeated occurrences of drinking alcohol, or for vaguely defined offences such as
moharebeh (“enmity against god”)6 and efsad-e fel-arz (“corruption on earth”).7
In November 2017 an amendment made to the law on drug trafficking entered into force,
replacing the mandatory death penalty with a prison term of up to 30 years for non-violent drugrelated offences and increasing the quantity of drugs required for a death sentence to be imposed.
However, mandatory death sentences for numerous drug-related offences remained and a number

UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September 2019, CCPR/C/GC/35,
available at
UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September 2019, CCPR/C/GC/35,
available at
Islamic Penal Code (2013) articles 136 and 225
Islamic Penal Code (2013) article 235
Islamic Penal Code (2013) article 279
Islamic Penal Code (2013) article 286


Select target paragraph3