proclaimed in January 2020, will only allow citizens to register as one of the country’s recognized religions to the state-issued National Identity Card—which is required for almost all government and other transactions. 6 A bill currently under review of the Iranian Parliament as of November 2020 would criminalize “any deviant educational or proselytizing activity that contradicts or interferes with the sacred law of Islam” when it is, among others, part of a “sect,” or through the use of “mind control methods and psychological indoctrination.” As stipulated by the Human Rights Committee, the mere ‘contradiction’ or ‘interference’ with the state’s official religion is not a permissible ground for the restriction of the right to religion or belief.7 Additionally, such bill may well disproportionately impact individuals belonging to unrecognized religious minorities, such as Baha’is, numbering 350,000 in Iran, 8 often arrested and detained on the basis of their religious beliefs notably on the charge of proselytizing the Baha’i faith.9 Many elements of Iran’s domestic legal framework discriminate between Shia Muslims, Muslim and non-Muslim minorities, including also recognized minorities. According to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, candidates for the presidency must follow the official religion of the State, as well as for members of the Assembly of Experts, the Guardian Council or the Expediency Council, excluding Muslim and non-Muslim minorities from holding high governmental positions. 10 Further, Article 881 of the Civil Code bars non-Muslims from inheriting property from Muslims. The Islamic Penal Code (IPC) also prescribes different penalties depending on the religion of the perpetrator and/or the victim of some crimes. The lack of legal safeguards enables the Iranian authorities to restrict the rights of members belonging to religious minorities and even to criminalize a wide range of their peaceful activities. Reports have shown that religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran face human rights violations such as arbitrary deprivation of life and extrajudicial executions, a disproportionate number of executions on national security-related charges; arbitrary arrests and detention in connection with range of peaceful activities, incitement to hatred, forced closure of businesses and discriminatory practices and denial of employment and restrictions on access to education and other basic services.11 6 Center for Human Rights in Iran, 7 UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), CCPR General Comment No. 22: Article 18 (Freedom of Thought, Conscience or Religion), 30 July 1993, CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, available at: 8 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 18 July 2019, 9 ARTICLE19, 10 The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, 11 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 18 July 2019, 2

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