Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3 para 73 (b)
Full recommendation:
In order to enhance women’s access to justice through a transparent legal and judiciary reform
it is recommended that the Government: Remove obstacles to women’s rights with regard to
child custody, divorce, inheritance and freedom of movement.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 1169 of the Civil Code prioritises a woman’s right to get custody of her child until the
child reaches the age of 7; after which the law awards custody of the child to the child’s father or
paternal grandfather. In situations where the parents of the child are not married, the law awards
legal guardianship of the child to the paternal grandfather. However, according to Article 1173, a
woman can challenge a father’s right to custody after the child turns 7 years old in a limited
number of situations, these are: if the father is addicted to drugs, alcohol and gambling, is
‘morally corrupted’, suffers from a mental illness, abuses the child or ‘coerces’ them “into
immoral occupation”, or repeatedly beats the child “outside the ‘normal limit’”. A court may
then decide who obtains the child’s custody, based on the child’s best interests.2 Even if the court
designates the woman, she may only obtain physical custody of her child, while legal
guardianship remains with the father or paternal grandfather. Under Article 43 of the Family
Protection Law (2013), in the event of the father’s death, custody of the child is given to the
mother, unless the grandfather or the prosecutor decides that the best interests of the child require
otherwise. The right to custody is further limited for women in cases of divorce. In such
situations, a woman may only be given custody of her child until they turn 2 in the case of boys
and 7 for girls.3 Custody is then transferred to the father or to another person appointed by the
court. If a woman remarries, she loses the right to custody of her children.4
Men have a unilateral right to divorce their spouse, 5 while women can only apply for divorce in
limited circumstances, including situations where their husband is addicted to drugs, imprisoned,
refuses to support the family financially6 or subjects his wife to “intolerable hardship.”7
Recently, however, the government has drafted a bill titled “Limitation of the Right of Men to
1
CCPR.2.3.S.1.; CCPR.3.1.S.1.; CCPR.3.1.S.4.; CCPR.16.1.S.1.; CCPR.23.2.S.1.; CCPR.23.4.S.1.; CCPR.23.3.S.1.;
CRC.8.1.S.1.; ESCR.2.2.S.1.; ESCR.2.2.S.1.; ESCR.6.1.S.1.; ESCR.6.1.S.3.
CCPR.3.1.P.3.; CCPR.16.1.P.1.; CCPR.23.2.P.1.; CCPR.2.3.P.1.; CCPR.23.3.P.1.; ESCR.2.2.P.3.; ESCR.6.1.P.1.
CCPR.2.3.O.4.; CCPR.3.1.O.4.; CCPR.23.3.O.1.; CRC.8.1.O.2.; CCPR.2.1.O.1.; ESCR.6.1.O.2.
2
Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1928 (amended 2006), Article 1169
3
Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1928 (amended 2006), Articles 1169- 1170
4
Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1928 (amended 2006), Articles 1170.
5
Article 1133, Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran. https://iranhrdc.org/the-civil-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran/
6
Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1928 (amended 2006), Articles 1119, 1129, 1130 and 1133.
7
Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Art. 1130 and 1133 (1928, as amended in 1985)

1

Select target paragraph3