Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/31/69 para 68
Full recommendation:
Urges the authorities to recognise that freedom of religion or belief entails the freedom to
choose a religion or belief, and that measures restricting eligibility for civil, political, social or
economic privileges, or imposing special restrictions on the practice of other faiths, violate the
prohibition of discrimination based on religion or belief and the guarantee of equal protection
under article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
The Iranian legal framework does not adequately protect the right to freedom of religion or
belief, including the right to have or to adopt a religion of his choice.
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran names the Twelver Ja’fari School of Shia Islam
as the state religion and stipulates that “other Islamic schools are to be accorded full respect, and
their followers are free to act in accordance with their own jurisprudence in performing their
religious rites” (Article 12).2 Article 13 of the Constitution provides that the Zoroastrian, Jewish,
and Christian Iranians “are the only recognized religious minorities” under Iranian law. Because
there are no laws safeguarding the right of religious minorities to worship, maintain places of
worship or assemble, the structural exclusion of other religious minorities leaves them without
legal protection to manifest and practice their religion or belief.
Religious minorities recognized by Articles 12 and 13 of the Constitution have few places of
worship compared to their numbers. Members of Sunni Islam are not allowed to build new
mosques in major cities, including Tehran. In addition, a number of Sunni religious seminaries
have been destroyed by the government3 and authorities have reportedly been closing Sunni

1

CCPR.18.1.S.1; CCPR.18.1.S.2; CCPR.18.1.S.3; CCPR.18.1.S.4; CCPR.18.1.S.5; CCPR.26.1.S.1; CCPR.27.1.S.1;
CCPR.27.2.S.1
CCPR.18.1.P.1; CCPR.18.1.P.2; CCPR.18.1.P.3; CCPR.18.1.P.4; CCPR.18.1.P.5; CCPR.18.3.P.1; CCPR.26.1.P.1;
CCPR.27.1.P.1; CCPR.27.2.P.1; CCPR.27.1.P.2;
CCPR.18.1.O.2; CCPR.18.1.O.3; CCPR.18.1.O.4; CCPR.18.1.O.5; CCPR.18.1.O.6; CCPR.18.1.O.7; CCPR.18.1.O.8;
CCPR.18.1.O.10; CCPR.18.1.O.14; CCPR.18.2.O.1; CCPR.18.2.O.2; CCPR.18.3.O.1; CCPR.18.3.O.2; CCPR.26.1.O.1;
CCPR.27.1.O.2; CCPR.27.2.O.2; CCPR.27.2.O.3
2
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wpcontent/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf
3
Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from All Human Rights for All in Iran, Association for Human Rights in
Kurdistan – Geneva, Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani People in Iran, Iran Human Rights Documentation
Center, OutRight International, Siamak Pourzand Foundation, Small Media, Impact Iran, 2020,
<https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CCPR_NGO_IRN_42317_E.pdf>

1

Select target paragraph3