Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/31/69 para 67
Full recommendation
The Special Rapporteur welcomes the recent release of arbitrarily detained persons, but
maintains his concern about other journalists, lawyers, religious minorities and individuals
working to defend the rights of women, children, workers and ethnic minorities who are
currently detained for the peaceful exercise of their fundamental human rights. He reiterates the
concern of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders about the
Government’s “overly broad interpretations” of national security and propagation crimes
against the State (A/HRC/25/55/Add.3), and strongly urges the authorities to release all
individuals identified as arbitrarily detained by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and
other human rights mechanisms.

Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
The Iranian criminal justice system broadly and vaguely defines national security crimes and
crimes of propaganda against the State. These vague definitions grant Iranian authorities
significant discretion to impose restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association.
Restrictions on these rights are particularly imposed when they are exercised to criticize the
State, even when the exercise is peaceful and in line with international standards.
National security crimes and crimes of propaganda are codified under the Islamic Penal Code,2
adopted in 2013. For instance, those participating in peaceful unauthorized assemblies can be
sentenced to prison terms on charges of “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against
national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code),3 “forming a group composed of more
than two people with the purpose of disrupting national security” (Article 498) 4 and/or
“membership of a group with the purpose of disrupting national security” (Article 499). Other
criminal charges include “spreading propaganda against the system,” 5, conspiracy against the

1
CCPR.9.1.S.1; CCPR.9.3.S.1; CCPR.14.1.S.1; CCPR.14.1.S.2
CCPR.9.1.P.1; CCPR.14.1.P.3; CCPR.14.1.P.1
CCPR.9.3.O.1; CCPR.14.1.O.1; CCPR.14.1.O.7; CCPR.14.1.O.8
2
The Islamic Penal Code available at: http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/print_version/845048
3
The new Islamic Penal Code was introduced in 2013 for an experimental period of five years and was revised in 2016. See the
most updated version of the Islamic Penal Code here on the website of the Iranian parliament:
http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/print_version/845048
4
Article 498 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/
5
Article 500 Islamic Penal Code 2013, https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-five/

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