Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/31/69 para 63
Full recommendation:
Despite some positive amendments in 2013, the Islamic Penal Code continues to justify serious
human rights violations perpetrated by government officials, including members of the judiciary.
Many provisions in the penal code violate the country’s international human rights obligations
by criminalizing the peaceful exercise of fundamental rights or other acts that are not
internationally recognized as crimes. The penal code also continues to discriminate against
girls, women and religious minorities. The Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to
consider additional reforms to the penal code in line with the country’s international legal
obligations.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
The revised version of the Islamic Penal Code,2 adopted in 2013, maintains numerous provisions
which criminalise the exercise of the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful
assembly, in contravention of international human rights law and standards. To name a few,
under the Penal Code, the establishment or leadership of a group that “aims to perturb the
security of the country” is criminalized,3 as well as a variety of acts considered propaganda4 or
conspiracy against the state (which has been interpreted to include peaceful protests).5
Encouragement to “violate public morals”6 as well as satire are also penalized.7 Similar vaguely
worded provisions punish acts such as swearing at8 or insulting9 “the Great Prophet of Islam” as
well as “sowing corruption on earth”10 with the death penalty. These restrictions fail to meet
requirements of international standards that limitations are necessary and proportionate, and in
pursuit of one of a limited number of narrowly-drawn legitimate aims, per Article 19 of the
ICCPR. This grants authorities’ significant discretion to impose overbroad and vague restrictions
on individuals’ rights in violation of the country’s international human rights obligations.
The authorities frequently resort to these provisions in order to intimidate, arrest and

1
CCPR.18.1.S.1; CCPR.19.2.S.1; ESCR.3.S.1
CCPR.18.1.P.1;
2
The Islamic Penal Code available at: http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/print_version/845048
3
Article 498 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
4
Article 500 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
5
Article 610 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
6
Article 639 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
7
Article 700 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
8
Article 262 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
9
Article 513 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
10
Article 286 Islamic Penal Code 2013

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