the country”,7 acts considered propaganda8, or conspiracy against the state (which has been
interpreted to include peaceful protests)9 are criminalised. Encouragement to “violate public
morals”10 and satire are also penalized. 11 Similar vaguely worded provisions punish acts such as
swearing at12 or insulting13 “the Great Prophet of Islam” and “sowing corruption on earth” 14 with
the death penalty.
These restrictions grant authorities significant discretion to impose overbroad and vague
restrictions in individuals’ rights in violation of international human rights obligations.
Legislation allowing the violation of rights associated with peaceful assembly fails to meet
requirements of international standards and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights.
The authorities frequently resort to these provisions in order to intimidate, arrest and
prosecute individuals who peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association
and assembly. 15 16 17 18 NGOs have reported a pattern of violations to the aforementioned human
rights targeting disproportionately members of minority or marginalised groups.19 20
Authorities have continued to respond to protests with excessive and unlawful force. Antigovernment protests that erupted in late December 2017 were met with a heavy-handed response
by state forces resulting in at least 21 deaths and hundreds of arrests.21 In November 2019,
authorities violently repressed protests across the country.22 23 The death toll ranges from verified
7

Article 498 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
Article 500 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
9 Article 610 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
10 Article 639 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five /
11 Article 700 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
12 Article 262 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
13 Article 513 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
14 Article 286 Islamic Penal Code 2013
15 See more : ARTICLE 19, Small Media, Human Rights Activists in Iran, Impact Iran, Human Rights Committee, 129 th session
8

(Geneva) 29 June – 24 July 2020,
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CCPR_ICS_IRN_42315_E.pdf
16 See more: Iran Human Rights, https://www.iranhr.net/en/reports/23/
17 See more: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/controlled-and-pursued-labor-activism-incontemporary-iran/
18 See more: Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, https://www.ecpm.org/wp-content/uploads/Rapport-iran-2020-gb-070420WEB.pdf
19 “Aliresza Farshi has been released from Evin,” HRNA News Agency. 11 April 2020. https://www.hranews.org/2020/hranews/a-24375/
20 “Iran arrests 29 linked to protests against compulsory hijab laws”, New York Times, 2 February 2018.
https://tinyurl.com/ybmdozuy
21 Amnesty International: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/01/iran-stop-increasingly-ruthless-crackdown-andinvestigate-deaths-of-protesters/
22 Iran: Protests met with violent crackdown and online censorship,” ARTICLE19, 19 November 2020.
https://www.article19.org/resources/iran-protests-met-with-violent-crackdown-and-online-censorship/
23 “Iran: Details released of 304 deaths during protests six months after security forces’ killing spree,” Amnesty International. 20
May 2020.
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/05/iran-details-released-of-304-deaths-during-protests-six-months-after-securityforces-killing-spree/#:~:text=Amnesty%20International%20has%20released%20details,on%2016%20and%2017%20November.

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