Information on the possible consequences of delivering money from abroad to the families of people who have been imprisoned or killed for political reasons [IRN37125.E]

IRN33350.E of 23 December 1999 contains information about delivering money to persons thought to be opposed to the government, but not specifically to family members of such persons.

In correspondence dated 6 June 2001, a professor of political science at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, who specializes in Iranian politics and is a past Executive Director of the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis (CIRA), wrote:

Iranian law does not prohibit bringing money to the country for the purpose of giving them to family members. Many Iranians do so on a regular basis. However, the government can punish dissidents who receive such money by charging them with accepting money from abroad for the purpose of undermining the system. Some intellectual dissidents and human rights activists (e.g. Mehrangiz Kar) were charged, among other things, with taking foreign money for undermining the system. In short, there is no legal prohibition on sending or bringing money from abroad to one's family members. But if the government decides to go after you, it can add this to the slew of charges that you may be taken to court for and receive a prison sentence for.

A history professor at Pace University, Pleasantville, New York, who specializes in history and human rights in Iran, stated on 7 June 2001 in reply to questions by the Research Directorate:

I am not aware of the existence of a (written) law in this matter. Treatment of political prisoners and everything related to them are arbitrary, often depending on the categories of prisoners, as defined by the Islamic security agents and prosecutors. Certain categories (such as membership in the Mojahedin Organization) are beyond the pale, and any association with or support for them will be mercilessly punished. In general, any fundraising for political prisoners, especially from abroad, is perceived very negatively by the Intelligence Ministry officials, since the act directs attention the existence of political prisoners. The Islamic Republic does not acknowledge the existence of "political prisoners" in the country.

The professor also stated that he is not aware of any specific case in which a person has been caught and punished for delivering money from abroad to the families of people who have been imprisoned or killed for political reasons, adding that "the regime tries very hard to hide such prosecution or harassment" (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Professor of history, Pace University, Pleasantville, N.Y. 7 June 2001. Correspondence.

Professor of political science, Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama. 6 June 2001. Correspondence.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases


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