Corporal Punishment Of Children: Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Index - Iran

Iran should revoke laws that permit violent discipline of children and clearly outlaw the practice in all settings.

Iranian law exempts children’s parents and "legal guardians of minors and insane people" from criminal liability for "the acts committed … in order to chastise or protect them," provided these acts "are exercised within the customary limit."[1] The 2020 Child Protection Law defines a set of punishments, which includes imprisonment and "blood money," for negligence by anyone, including parents, that results in death, disability, bodily harm, and sexual harassment of children.[2] The Guardian Council, however, removed provisions in the bill to punish parents’ use of "corporal punishment" with imprisonment.[3] Iran is reviewing recommendations to ban all corporal punishment of children from its UN Universal Periodic Review in 2019.[4]

An education policy directive from August 2000 states that "verbal abuse, corporal punishment, and assigning classwork/homework as a measure for disciplining is prohibited and to be avoided."[5] In several cases reported in local news media, school officials have been administratively sanctioned for corporal punishment.[6] 

[1] Article 59 of the Islamic Penal Code, English translation available at


[3] Human Rights Watch, "Iran: Child Protection Law Positive, but Insufficient," June 23, 2020,

[4] Report of the working group on the Universal Periodic Review, Islamic Republic of Iran, 27 December 2019, Recommendation 26.265 (Estonia),

[5] Art. 77 of the Schools Executive Directive, ratified by the Higher Council of Education on 10 August 2000, cited in Global Initiative to End all Corporal Punishment of Children, Iran, (accessed July 22, 2019),

[6] E.g.