Country Briefing

Area: 1,650,000 km²
Capital: Tehran
Population: ca. 85.9 million
Official language: Persian[1]

1. Brief overview

The Federal Agency for Civic Education of Germany describes the Islamic Republic of Iran as a state that combines democratic and theocratic-authoritarian elements[2]. Its foundation followed the revolution of 1978-1979, in the course of which Iranians deposed the Shah, who ruled with increasingly repressive methods. Ayatollah[3] Ruhollah Khomeini, who returned from exile in the wake of the revolution, proclaimed the Islamic Republic of Iran in April 1979, excluding the country’s leftist, nationalist and intellectual forces, originally allies of the revolution, from positions of power[4]. In the newly created state, the Shiite clergy and especially the “Supreme Leader” (initially Khomeini himself, from 1989 Ali Khamenei) have a central position of power[5]. At the same time, however, there is political competition in the country[6]. There are democratic elements such as parliament and presidential elections, whereby the so-called Council of Guardians[7], half of the members of which are appointed by the Supreme Leader[8], can exclude candidates from participating in elections[9]. After the revolution, the country was initially marked by the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) and in the 1990s by a phase of reconstruction[10].

In 2009, the controversial re-election of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad triggered protests among the population (“Green Movement”), which were dispersed by the authorities with tear gas[11]. The victory of Hassan Rouhani, who is considered a moderate, in the 2013 presidential elections was associated with hopes that Iranian society could be opened up and that the country could open up to the outside world[12]. Starting in 2005, the United Nations, the EU and the USA had imposed international sanctions on Iran for violating nuclear agreements[13]. In fact, the nuclear deal signed in 2015 by Rouhani and, on the US side, by US President Barack Obama, led to the lifting of international sanctions and a short-term economic recovery[14]. However, in May 2018, the new US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and re-imposed sanctions[15], which was followed by a huge drop in oil production[16] of Iran, which is economically heavily dependent on the oil industry[17] and a decline in Iran's currency[18]. Under US President Joe Biden, new nuclear negotiations were started with Iran, which are also being continued on the Iranian side by Rouhani's successor Ebrahim Raisi[19].

The presidential election won by Raisi in June 2021 was marked by the exclusion of all other promising candidates and a particularly low turnout[20]. Raisi was considered Khamenei's favoured candidate in the presidential election[21] and is often classified by international media as an “ultra-conservative” or “hardliner”[22].

Amnesty International reported in February 2020 that, in addition to the long-standing US sanctions, corruption and mismanagement as well as the dominance of the military and self-enriching religious foundations are responsible for the economic problems and the discontent

in the population[23]. Furthermore, the Federal Agency for Civic Education mentions resistance against state repression, censorship and the strict dress codes for women[24]. (-> ecoi.net search on Iran)

A list of other helpful country profiles on Iran, compiled by various organisations, can be found here.

2. Religious groups, converts

The Iranian population is almost exclusively Muslim. According to estimates by the Iranian authorities, 90 to 95 per cent of Iran's approximately 86 million inhabitants[25] are members of Shiite Islam, Iran's official denomination. Most of the rest of the population belongs to other Muslim groups, among which the Sunnis[26] and the Sufis are particularly strongly represented[27]. Only less than one per cent[28] of the population belong to non-Muslim groups, including 300,000 Christians[29] and 30,000 to 35,000 members of Zoroastrianism[30]. In addition, about 9,000 to 20,000 members of Judaism live in Iran[31], more than in any other Muslim country[32]. These three state-recognised non-Muslim minorities, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism[33], have a right to exist in Iran[34] and are allowed to practise their religious traditions “within the framework of the law”, but they are not allowed to propagate their faith outside their community[35].

Among the groups not recognised by the state[36] are the 300,000 to 350,000 Bahais[37], about whom there are reports of harassment and arrests[38] (-> ecoi.net-search on Bahais in Iran). Muslim converts to Christianity can also reportedly face problems with the authorities[39] (-> ecoi.net-search on Christian converts). Legal action against apostasy is repeatedly taken, and according to Sharia law, this offence can even be punished by death[40]. According to Qantara (an internet portal of Deutsche Welle to promote intellectual dialogue with the Islamic world) and Euronews, Muslim women who have converted to another religion are generally considered almost without rights[41]. Another religious group that is repeatedly targeted by the authorities in Iran is that of the Sufis, according to the Reuters news agency[42] (-> ecoi.net search on Sufis in Iran).

There are indications that the population is turning away from institutionalised religion, triggered above all by progressive urbanisation and disenchantment with the religiously influenced state apparatus. Atheism, Zoroastrianism and spiritualism, for example, seem to play a role that should not be underestimated even in officially Muslim population groups[43] .

3. Ethnic groups

Iran has an ethnically and culturally very diverse society[44]. The Persians are the largest ethnic group. Reliable figures on the size of the different groups do not exist[45], but most sources estimate that Persians represent between 50 and 65 per cent of the population[46]. Iran's ethnic minorities, which make up the rest of the population, are estimated to be as follows: Azeris about 16 to 20 per cent of the total population, Kurds ten, Lur six, Arabs and Baluch two each, and Turkmen and Turkic tribes one to two per cent[47]. In addition, several million Afghan women - some second generation - live in Iran, having arrived as displaced persons from the war in Afghanistan[48]. According to several sources, mistrust and prejudice against ethnic minorities exist in Iran, and the situation varies by minority[49].

The languages of the ethnic minorities have to a large extent been retained by the respective ethnic groups and in today's Iran languages such as Azeri, Kurdish, Lurish, Arabic and Baluchi are still spoken[50], although Iranians learn the official language Persian at school[51]. (-> ecoi.net search on ethnic minorities in Iran)

DFAT - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government[52]

4. Political opposition

In the Iranian system, elections take place, but the Council of Guardians has the possibility to reject candidates. This option is often used, especially for candidates who want to bring about a change in the ruling system[53]. On the one hand, a certain political discourse is possible in Iran[54], but on the other hand according to multiple sources, opposition politicians are held at bay, such as the leaders of the Green Movement of 2009, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, who were sanctioned with continued house arrest[55]. According to Deutsche Welle and Encyclopaedia Britannica, the protests of millions of dissatisfied people within the framework of the Green Movement (-> ecoi.net-search on Green Movement) are being dealt with just as harshly[56], as are the renewed protests from the end of 2017 and again from the end of 2019[57], in the course of which even direct criticism of the Supreme Leader is being voiced in some cases[58] (-> ecoi.net-search on protests in Iran). There are regular reports about arrested human rights activists (-> ecoi.net-search on arrested human rights activists), Reporters without Borders also reports about frequent actions against journalists[59] (-> ecoi.net-search on journalists in Iran).

Another branch of the opposition can be found in political organisations of ethnic groups that fight - partly armed - for their respective ethnic groups. These include organisations of Kurds (-> ecoi.net search on Kurdish opposition) and Azeris in the north-west of the country, as well as organisations of the Arab ethnic group in the south-west and the Baluchi ethnic group in the south-east. The Iranian leadership considers these attacks, which have taken place regularly since the 1979 revolution and are mostly small-scale, to be acts of terrorism[60]. In addition, there are opposition groups in exile in Iran. These include, for example, the People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran (Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation, MEK, -> ecoi.net search on the MEK), an organisation which, according to the British newspaper The Guardian, is repeatedly supported by the right-wing camp in the USA and Europe, but which is hardly met with any sympathy in Iran[61]. The US news magazine Newsweek describes the Iranian opposition as a whole as divided, and previous attempts to unite as unsuccessful[62]. (-> ecoi.net search on opposition in Iran)

5. Women

According to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the conservative and patriarchal values of the current rulers are opposed by one of the most active women's movements in the Islamic world[63]. Deutsche Welle reports that women were able to fight for numerous rights during the Shah period, such as the right to vote, which has existed for women[64] since 1963. But, according to the news organisation Middle East Eye, conversely there are still discriminatory laws today that date back to this time. As described in a September 2021 article, additional restrictions came into effect for women after the Islamic Revolution of 1978-1979 and the accompanying constitutional amendment, many of which also remain in place today[65]. The compulsory headscarf and the ban on entry to football stadiums are particularly prominent topics in the media[66]. Yet there is a whole series of other regulations and social barriers that massively restrict the lives of women in everyday life, as Human Rights Watch writes in a report on discrimination against women in the labour market[67], such as the ban on travelling abroad without the consent of a spouse, or restrictions on the choice of profession[68]. In its annual report 2022, the human rights organisation further writes that women are affected by noticeable discrimination, especially in matters of marriages, divorces, inheritance and custody[69]. According to Middle East Eye, in the decades after the revolution, progress in the feminist movement has been noticeable, even if it has been slow[70]. One example repeatedly cited is the increase in the proportion of women at universities, where about half of the students are now female[71]. On the other hand, Iran is still very far down in the international rankings when it comes to gender equality[72], only in 150th place out of a total of 156 countries according to the Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum[73]. (-> ecoi.net search on women's rights in Iran)


Footnotes

[1] CIA - Central Intelligence Agency: The World Fact Book - Iran, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/static/93f830ea232014c6350816ef8184b064/IR-summary.pdf

[2] bpb - Bundesszentrale für politische Bildung: Politik und Geschichte, no date, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/40104/politik-und-geschichte; bpb - Bundesszentrale für Politische Bildung: Politik und Geschichte: Machtkonstante Theokratie: Iran nach 1979, 10 January 2020, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/40110/irans-politisches-system

[3] Honorary title conferred by general use in public on the most eminent Shi'ite jurists. Legal scholars (bpb: Ayatollah, no date, https://www.bpb.de/kurz-knapp/lexika/islam-lexikon/21301/ayatollah/).

[4] Encyclopaedia Britannica: The Islamic republic, no date, https://www.britannica.com/place/Iran/The-Islamic-republic#ref32189; Encyclopaedia Britannica: Iranian Revolution, no date, https://www.britannica.com/event/Iranian-Revolution

[5] Deutsche Welle: Der Anfang vom Ende der iranischen Revolution, 1 February 2019, https://www.dw.com/de/der-anfang-vom-ende-der-iranischen-revolution/a-17409575; bpb - Bundesszentrale für Politische Bildung: Iran, no date, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/

[6] bpb - Federal Agency for Civic Education: Iran, no date, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/40104/politik-und-geschichte

[7] The Council of Guardians is a political institution in Iran with the function of examining the compatibility of laws with Islamic law and deciding on the admissibility of candidates for election. The total of 12 seats on the Guardian Council are occupied by six clerics and six jurists. Six members are appointed by the revolutionary leader and six are elected by parliament. Members are appointed for six years and half of the seats are filled every three years (bpb: Constant power theocracy: Iran after 1979 [Fig.: Iran's power structures], 10 January 2020, https://www.bpb.de/themen/naher-mittlerer-osten/iran/40110/machtkonstante-theokratie-iran-nach-1979/).

[8] Encyclopaedia Britannica: Council of Guardians, no date, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Council-of-Guardians

[9] BBC News: Iran protests: Who are the opposition in the country?, 16 January 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51093792; Iran Data Portal: The Guardian Council, no date, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/the-guardian-council

[10] bpb - Federal Agency for Civic Education: Politics and History: Iran's History: 1979-2019 - Between Revolution, Attempts at Reform and Regional Hegemony, 24 January 2020, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/40121/irans-geschichte-1979-bis-2019

[11] Enciclopedia Britannica: Mehdi Karroubi, no date, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mehdi-Karroubi

[12] The Guardian: Hassan Rouhani: young Iranians' hope for an end to isolation, 19 September 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/iran-blog/2013/sep/19/hassan-rouhani-young-iranians-hope

[13] CFR - Council on Foreign Relations: International Sanctions on Iran, 15 July 2015, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/international-sanctions-iran#chapter-title-0-7

[14] BBC News: Six charts that show how hard US sanctions have hit Iran, 9 December 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48119109

[15] Reuters: Iran says it will further breach nuclear deal in one month unless Europeans act, 5 August 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-iran/iran-says-it-will-further-breach-nuclear-deal-in-one-month-unless-europeans-act-idUSKCN1UV1TV; BBC News: Iran nuclear deal: What it all means, 23 November 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33521655

[16] BBC News: Six charts that show how hard US sanctions have hit Iran, 9 December 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48119109

[17] World Bank: Islamic Republic of Iran, Overview, 11 October 2018, https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/iran/overview

[18] BBC News: Six charts that show how hard US sanctions have hit Iran, 9 December 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48119109

[19] Foreign Policy: The View From Iran: What the Raisi Administration Wants in the Nuclear Talks, 7 October 2021, https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/10/07/iran-deal-talks-jcpoa-vienna-nuclear-negotiations-raisi/

[20] Spiegel: Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi wird neuer Präsident in Iran, 19 June 2021, https://www.spiegel.de/ausland/iran-hardliner-ebrahim-raisi-wird-neuer-praesident-a-e66e17b7-11a0-47bf-adba-99828c59f8a8

[21] Frankfurter Allgemeine: Raisi gewinnt Präsidentenwahl in Iran, 19 June 2021, https://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland/hardliner-raisi-gewinnt-praesidentenwahl-in-iran-17397494.html

[22] Al-Monitor: Hard-liner Raisi wins Iran presidency amid record low turnout, 19 June 2021, https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/06/hard-liner-raisi-wins-iran-presidency-amid-record-low-turnout; Qantara: Ein ultrakonservativer Geistlicher auf dem Weg ins Präsidentenamt in Teheran, 17 June 2021, https://de.qantara.de/content/ein-ultrakonservativer-geistlicher-auf-dem-weg-ins-praesidentenamt-in-teheran; New York Times: Iranian Hard-Liner Ebrahim Raisi Wins Presidential Vote, 19 June 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/19/world/middleeast/iran-election-president-raisi.html; The Guardian: Iran's president-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, is hardliner linked with mass executions, 19 June 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/19/irans-president-elect-ebrahim-raisi-is-hardliner-linked-with-mass-executions; ZDF Heute: Raisi gewinnt Präsidentschaftswahl in Iran, 19 June 2021, https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/politik/iran-praesident-wahl-raisi-100.html

[23] Amnesty International: Uprising of the Young and Ragged, 24 February 2020, https://www.amnesty.de/informieren/amnesty-journal/iran-aufstand-der-jungen-und-zerlumpten; bpb - Bundesszentrale für Politische Bildung: Iran, no date, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/

[24] bpb - Federal Agency for Civic Education: Iran, Society, no date, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/40142/gesellschaft

[25] CIA - Central Intelligence Agency: The World Fact Book - Iran, December 2021, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/static/93f830ea232014c6350816ef8184b064/IR-summary.pdf

[26] CIA - Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook, Iran, People and Society, December 2021, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/static/93f830ea232014c6350816ef8184b064/IR-summary.pdf

[27] Euronews: Schicksal religiöser Minderheiten im Iran: Christen, Juden und Bahai, 25 February 2016, https://de.euronews.com/2016/02/25/schicksal-religioeser-minderheiten-im-iran-christen-juden-und-bahai

[28] US Department of State: 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom: Iran, 12 May 2021, https://www.ecoi.net/de/dokument/2051587.html

[29] MRG - Minority Rights Group International: World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Iran, December 2017, https://minorityrights.org/country/iran/

[30] MRG - Minority Rights Group International: World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Iran, December 2017, https://minorityrights.org/country/iran/

[31] USDOS - US Department of State: 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom: Iran, 12 May 2021, https://www.ecoi.net/de/dokument/2051587.html; MRG - Minority Rights Group International: World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Iran, December 2017, https://minorityrights.org/country/iran/

[32] Qantara: Celebrating Sabbath in Iran, 10 July 2019, https://en.qantara.de/content/the-islamic-republic%CA%B9s-jewish-minority-celebrating-sabbath-in-iran?nopaging=1; Euronews: Fate of religious minorities in Iran: Christians, Jews and Bahai, 25 February 2016, https://de.euronews.com/2016/02/25/schicksal-religioeser-minderheiten-im-iran-christen-juden-und-bahai

[33] Encyclopaedia Britannica: Religion of Iran, no date, https://www.britannica.com/place/Iran/Religion; Deutsche Welle: Iran: New ID card rule highlights plight of Baha'i, 25 January 2020, https://www.dw.com/en/iran-new-id-card-rule-highlights-plight-of-bahai/a-52149974

[34] Qantara: Celebrating Sabbath in Iran, 10 July 2019, https://en.qantara.de/content/the-islamic-republic%CA%B9s-jewish-minority-celebrating-sabbath-in-iran?nopaging=1

[35] USDOS - US Department of State: 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom: Iran, 12 May 2021, https://www.ecoi.net/de/dokument/2051587.html

[36] Deutsche Welle: Iran: New ID card rule highlights plight of Baha'i, 25 January 2020, https://www.dw.com/en/iran-new-id-card-rule-highlights-plight-of-bahai/a-52149974

[37] Euronews: Fate of religious minorities in Iran: Christians, Jews and Bahai, 25 February 2016, https://de.euronews.com/2016/02/25/schicksal-religioeser-minderheiten-im-iran-christen-juden-und-bahai; Deutsche Welle: Iran: New ID card rule highlights plight of Baha'i, 25 January 2020, https://www.dw.com/en/iran-new-id-card-rule-highlights-plight-of-bahai/a-52149974

[38] HRC - UN Human Rights Council: Summary of Stakeholders' submissions on the Islamic Republic of Iran; Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [A/HRC/WG.6/34/IRN/3], 16 August 2019, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/2017467/A_HRC_WG.6_34_IRN_3_E.pdf; Deutsche Welle: Iran: New ID card rule highlights plight of Baha'i, 25 January 2020, https://www.dw.com/en/iran-new-id-card-rule-highlights-plight-of-bahai/a-52149974; CRS - Congressional Research Service: Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options, 22 October 2019, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL32048.pdf, p. 16; HRW - Human Rights Watch: World Report 2020 - Iran, 14 January 2020, https://www.ecoi.net/de/dokument/2022677.html

[39] Qantara: Iran: Homosexuelle und Konvertiten im Visier, 8 August, 2019, https://de.qantara.de/content/iran-homosexuelle-und-konvertiten-im-visier

[40] ACCORD - Austrian Centre for Country of Origin & Asylum Research and Documentation: Iran: COI Compilation, July 2018 https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/1441174/1226_1534925790_iran-coi-compilation-july-2018-final.pdf, p. 115-117

[41] Qantara: Iran: Homosexuelle und Konvertiten im Visier, 8 August, 2019, https://de.qantara.de/content/iran-homosexuelle-und-konvertiten-im-visier; Euronews: Schicksal religiöser Minderheiten im Iran: Christen, Juden und Bahai, 25 February 2016, https://de.euronews.com/2016/02/25/schicksal-religioeser-minderheiten-im-iran-christen-juden-und-bahai

[42] Reuters: Five Iranian security officers killed at Sufi protest in Tehran, 20 February 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-protests-sufis/five-iranian-security-officers-killed-at-sufi-protest-in-tehran-idUSKCN1G41AK; HRC - Human Rights Council: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran [A/HRC/34/65], 17 March 2017, https://undocs.org/a/hrc/34/65, para. 78

[43] GAMAAN - The Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran: Iranian's Attitudes Toward Religion: A 2020 Survey Report, August 2020, https://gamaan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/GAMAAN-Iran-Religion-Survey-2020-English.pdf

[44] Encyclopedia Britannica: Iran, People, no date, https://www.britannica.com/place/Iran/People#ref230041; bpb - Bundeszentrum für politische Bildung: Vielvölkerstaat Iran: Das Misstrauen der Regierung, 13 January 2020, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/303146/vielvoelkerstaat-iran

[45] MRG - Minority Rights Group International: Briefing: Seeking justice and an end to neglect: Iran's minorities today, February 2011, https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/4d8ae8852.pdf, p. 2

[46] MRG - Minority Rights Group: World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Iran, December 2017, https://minorityrights.org/country/iran/; Elling, Rasmus Christian: Minorities in Iran, Nationalism and Ethnicity after Khomeini, 2013, https://books.google.at/books?id=rWEbrv5oD8AC&pg=PT26&lpg=PT26&dq=persians+iran+percentage+%22Library+of+Congress%22&source=bl&ots=PVamj_WJ3v&sig=ACfU3U1kgF9qj2vNfgJMlkypViu3WNji4g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiwmvvF4K3nAhXxtYsKHd_8Dh8Q6AEwCnoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=persians%20iran%20percentage%20%22Library%20of%20Congress%22&f=false, chapter 1; bpb - Bundeszentrum für politische Bildung: Multi-ethnic Iran: the distrust of the government, 13 January 2020, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/303146/vielvoelkerstaat-iran;

[47] bpb - Bundeszentrum für politische Bildung: Vielvölkerstaat Iran: Das Misstrauen der Regierung, 13 January 2020, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/303146/vielvoelkerstaat-iran; MRG - Minority Rights Group: World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Iran, December 2017, https://minorityrights.org/country/iran/

[48] VOA - Voice of America: Millions of Afghans Displaced After More Than Four Decades of War, 14 December 2019, https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/millions-afghans-displaced-after-more-four-decades-war; bpb - Bundeszentrum für politische Bildung: Vielvölkerstaat Iran: Das Misstrauen der Regierung, 13 January 2020, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/303146/vielvoelkerstaat-iran

[49] The Washington Institute for Near East Policy: How Iran's New Education Proposal Silences and Criminalizes Non-Persian Languages, 8 July 2019, https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/fikraforum/view/how-irans-new-education-proposal-silences-and-criminalizes-non-persian-lang; The Washington Institute for Near East Policy: Iran's Ethnic Minorities Are Finding Their Own Voices-America Can Help, 22 March 2019, https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/fikraforum/view/irans-minorities-are-finding-their-own-voicesamerica-can-help; Radio Farda: Iran's Sunni Leader Calls For End To Discrimination - Exclusive, 22 January 2019, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-sunni-leader-molavi-calls-for-end-to-discrimination/29723955.html; bpb - Bundeszentrum für politische Bildung: Vielvölkerstaat Iran: Das Misstrauen der Regierung, 13 January 2020, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/303146/vielvoelkerstaat-iran

[50] Encyclopaedia Britannica: Iran - Languages, no date, https://www.britannica.com/place/Iran/Languages; MRG - Minority Rights Group International: Iran - Minorities and indigenous peoples, December 2017, https://minorityrights.org/country/iran/

[51] ACCORD - Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation, The School System in Iran, May 2020, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/2030055/Schulsystem+Iran_May+2020.pdf, p. 2-3

[52] DFAT - Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 14 April 2020, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/2029778/country-information-report-iran.pdf, p. 2

[53] BBC News: Iran protests: Who are the opposition in the country?, 16 January 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51093792; see also: Deutsche Welle: Iranian hardliners aim for total control, 29 May 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/iranian-hardliners-aim-for-total-control/a-57709394

[54] bpb - Federal Agency for Civic Education: Iran, no date, https://www.bpb.de/internationales/asien/iran/

[55] RSF - Reporters sans frontières: Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2022, 11 April 2022, https://rsf.org/en/news/iran-press-freedom-violations-recounted-real-time-january-2022; CHRI - Center for Human Rights in Iran: Former Presidential Candidate Under House Arrest Punished for Blaming Plane Downing on Supreme Leader, 17 January 2020, https://iranhumanrights.org/2020/01/opposition-leader-under-house-arrest-punished-for-blaming-plane-downing-on-supreme-leader/; BBC News: Iran protests: Who are the opposition in the country?., 16 January 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51093792; see also: Washington Post: Security forces reportedly bar Iran's popular ex-president from leaving his home, 19 October 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/security-forces-prevent-irans-popular-ex-president-from-leaving-his-home-report/2017/10/19/0e840afc-b4cd-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html; Radio Farda: Khatami Practically Under House Arrest, Prevented To Meet With Aides, 2 December 2017, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-khatami-prevented-from-meetings/28891875.html; Heinrich Böll Foundation: Iran-Report 08/14, August 2014, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/1263233/4232_1409305957_iran-report-08-14.pdf, p. 2

[56] DW - Deutsche Welle: Iran's Green Movement: Why US policies strengthen the regime, 14 June 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/irans-green-movement-why-us-policies-strengthen-the-regime/a-49189323; Encyclopaedia Britannica: Mehdi Karroubi - Iranian Cleric and Politician, no date, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mehdi-Karroubi#ref1174378

[57] Amnesty International: Iran: Stop increasingly ruthless crackdown and investigate deaths of protesters, 4 January 2018, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/01/iran-stop-increasingly-ruthless-crackdown-and-investigate-deaths-of-protesters/; Amnesty International: Iran: Thousands arbitrarily detained and at risk of torture in chilling post-protest crackdown, 16 December 2019, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/12/iran-thousands-arbitrarily-detained-and-at-risk-of-torture-in-chilling-post-protest-crackdown/

[58] Reuters: Iranian opposition leader compares Supreme Leader to toppled Shah, 30 November 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-protests-opposition-leader/iranian-opposition-leader-compares-supreme-leader-to-toppled-shah-idUSKBN1Y40LF; Posch, Walter: Interview in Kurier: "Irans Regime ist sehr nervös", 12 January 2020, https://kurier.at/politik/ausland/iran-experte-walter-posch-irans-regime-ist-sehr-nervoes/400723917; BBC News: Iran protests: Who are the opposition in the country?, 16 January 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51093792

[59] RSF - Reporters Without Borders: Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2022, 11 April 2022, https://rsf.org/en/news/iran-press-freedom-violations-recounted-real-time-january-2022; RSF - Reporters Sans Frontières: More Iranian journalists arrested, mistreated in prison, 7 January 2020, https://www.ecoi.net/de/dokument/2022378.html;

[60] ACCORD - Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Iran: COI Compilation, July 2018, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/1441174/1226_1534925790_iran-coi-compilation-july-2018-final.pdf, section 4; Newsweek: Iran's Opposition Groups are Preparing for the Regime's Collapse. Is Anyone Ready?, 27 August 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/2019/09/06/iran-regime-fall-opposition-groups-mek-1456420.html

[61] The Guardian: Terrorists, cultists - or champions of Iranian democracy? The wild wild story of the MEK, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/nov/09/mek-iran-revolution-regime-trump-rajavi; ACCORD - Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Iran: COI Compilation, July 2018, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/1441174/1226_1534925790_iran-coi-compilation-july-2018-final.pdf, section 4.3

[62] Newsweek: Iran's Opposition Groups are Preparing for the Regime's Collapse. Is Anyone Ready?, 27 August 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/2019/09/06/iran-regime-fall-opposition-groups-mek-1456420.html

[63] Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Zwischen Skepsis, Pragmatismus und sanftem Protest, 11 March 2006, https://www.nzz.ch/articleDN4HP-ld.42088; Qantara: Women in Patriarchal Iran - Between Skepticism, Pragmatism, and Gentle Protest, 29 March 2006, https://en.qantara.de/content/women-in-patriarchal-iran-between-skepticism-pragmatism-and-gentle-protest

[64] Deutsche Welle: 50 Jahre Frauenwahlrecht im Iran, 1 February 2013, https://www.dw.com/de/50-jahre-frauenwahlrecht-im-iran/g-16563629

[65] Middle East Eye: Iranian Women fear setbacks in hard-earned rights under Raisi, 19 September 2021, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iran-women-rights-fear-setbacks-raisi

[66] For example: The Guardian: The wind in my hair: one Iranian woman's courageous struggle against being forced to wear the hijab, 3 June 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/jun/03/the-wind-in-my-hair-one-womans-struggle-against-being-forced-to-wear-hijab; The New York Times: Iranian Women Allowed to Attend Soccer Game for First Time Since 1981, 10 October 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/10/sports/soccer/iran-women.html

[67] HRW - Human Rights Watch: "It's a Men's Club", Discrimination Against Women in Iran's Job Market, May 2017, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/1400480/5228_1496393271_iran0517-web-1.pdf, pp. 1-2

[68] HRW - Human Rights Watch: World Report 2022 - Iran, 13 January 2022, https://www.ecoi.net/de/dokument/2066471.html; ACCORD - Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Iran: COI Compilation, July 2018, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/1441174/1226_1534925790_iran-coi-compilation-july-2018-final.pdf, section 6.5.1; HRW - Human Rights Watch: "It's a Men's Club", Discrimination Against Women in Iran's Job Market, May 2017, https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/1400480/5228_1496393271_iran0517-web-1.pdf, p. 3; Ceasefire Center for civilian rights; Center for Supporters of Human Rights; Minority Rights Group: Beyond the Veil: Women in Iran continue to face discrimination, September 2019, https://minorityrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/MRG_CFR_Iran_EN_Sept191.pdf, p. 22;

[69] HRW - Human Rights Watch: World Report 2022 - Iran, 13 January 2022, https://www.ecoi.net/de/dokument/2066471.html

[70] Middle East Eye: Iranian Women fear setbacks in hard-earned rights under Raisi, 19 September 2021, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iran-women-rights-fear-setbacks-raisi

[71] Middle East Eye: Iranian Women fear setbacks in hard-earned rights under Raisi, 19 September 2021, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iran-women-rights-fear-setbacks-raisi; United States Institute of Peace: Iran by the Numbers, 25 May 2016, https://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2016/may/25/iran-numbers-women; United States Institute of Peace: The Women's Movement, 6 October 2010, https://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/womens-movement

[72] Middle East Eye: Iranian Women fear setbacks in hard-earned rights under Raisi, 19 September 2021, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iran-women-rights-fear-setbacks-raisi

[73] The ranking is based on four dimensions: economic opportunities, education, health and political participation , source: World Economic Forum: Global Gender Gap Report 2021, 30 March 2021, https://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2021/in-full/gggr2-benchmarking-gender-gaps-findings-from-the-global-gender-gap-index-2021#1-2-global-results