State,6 encouragement to “violate public morals”7 as well as satire.8 Similar vaguely worded provisions criminalize acts such as swearing at9 or insulting10 “the Great Prophet of Islam” as well as “sowing corruption on earth”11 with the death penalty. Similarly, the lack of legal safeguards for the rights of individuals belonging to religious minorities1213 enables the Iranian authorities to criminalize activities, such as attending a house church or being part of religious conferences, as criminal acts on the basis that they can threaten the existence of the Islamic Republic and thus constitute a national security threat.14 For example, the Iranian Judiciary has reportedly prosecuted minority faith adherents, including nonShia Muslims, for such activities on criminal charges such as “establishing a group that aims to disrupt national security” (Article 498), “membership in a group that aims to disrupt national security” (Article 499), and “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500) .1516 All the aforementioned restrictions fail to meet requirements of international standards, including the principle of legality and the principle that limitations must be necessary, proportionate and in pursuit of one of a limited number of narrowly-drawn legitimate aims.17 Consequently, the current Iranian legal framework grants authorities’ significant discretion to impose overbroad and vague restrictions on individuals’ rights in contravention of Iran's international human rights obligations. Further, Iranian authorities often disregard the right to fair trial of individuals accused of national security and propaganda against the State related crimes. For example, the guarantee of the right to legal defence is enshrined in Article 35 of the Constitution, which ensures the right to choose a lawyer,18 as well as in Article 190 of the revised Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP), which protects the right of a suspect to “be accompanied by a lawyer during the preliminary 6 Article 610 Islamic Penal Code 2013, Article 639 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 8 Article 700 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 9 Article 262 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 10 Article 513 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 11 Article 286 Islamic Penal Code 2013. 12 In its Article 19, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran omits an explicit reference provision recognizing religion or belief as a protected characteristic against discrimination. Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, 13 See more: 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, 14 Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from The World Evangelical Alliance, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Middle East Concern, Article 18, 29 May 2020 , 15 Islamic Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2013), Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, 16 Rights Denied: Violations against ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, 17 Article 19, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 18 The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran <> 7 2

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