Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3 para 73 (h)
Full recommendation:
In order to enhance women’s access to justice through a transparent legal and judiciary reform
it is recommended that the Government: Institute proper investigation procedures for rape cases
and ensure that rape victims are not subject to prosecution under adultery provisions where they
are unable to prove rape;
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
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 excludes
other forms of penetration- and only when the perpetrator and the victim are unmarried 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
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/

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