This is an overview of an internet research on legislation in Iran (as of January 2022). This overview aims to serve as a starting point to facilitate the research into legal texts. However, it should not replace independent verification of the different legal texts as to their currency, validity and accuracy. Please also bear in mind that official translations of legal texts only exist in rare cases.

Researching Laws

The state-run website ‘Laws and Regulations Portal of Iran’ provides a database of laws and regulations in Persian language:

The US-based non-governmental organisation Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) provides unofficial translations of some Iranian laws:

The Refworld database which is operated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides the option to search for English translations of some legislative texts:

On the website of the United Nation’s agency World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) unofficial English translations of several laws can be downloaded:

Selected iranian laws are available on Natlex, a Portal of the International Labour Organization:

To access the collection of national laws for Iran on ecoi.net, please follow this link.

Constitution

According to an article published in March 2018 by Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran dates from 1979 and was amended in 1989 (Radio Farda, 1 March 2018).

On the website of the Research Centre of the Iranian Parliament, the current constitution of Iran is available in Persian:

  • Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran [قانون اساسی جمهوری اسلامی ایران], language: Persian (available on the website of the Research Centre of the Iranian Parliament)
    http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/content/iran_constitution

The Refworld database provides an - according to Refworld - official English translation of the Iranian Constitution of 1979, including the amendment of 1989:

Another translation of the Iranian Constitution (1989 version) is available on the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). According to the document, the copyright for the translation is held by the Association for Iranian Studies (formerly the International Society for Iranian Studies), an academic society that promotes and supports academic work and research on Iran:

Criminal Law

The database of the state-run website ‘Laws and Regulations Portal of Iran’ contains the Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Persian, which comprises Books I to V. It includes the amended version of Book V that came into force in March 2021 and Book I, II, III and IV as amended in January 2012:

  • Criminal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran [قانون مجازات اسلامي], amended version entered into force on 7 March 2021, Book I-V, language: Persian (available on the Laws and Regulations Portal of Islamic Republic of Iran)
    https://qavanin.ir/Law/TreeText/198907

In an article published on 19 February 2021, the human rights organisation ARTICLE 19 informs about the inclusion of two provisions to the Islamic Penal Code:

„Iran’s Parliament passed the law to add two provisions with regards to ‘insulting legally-recognised religions and Iranian ethnicities’ to the Islamic Penal Code on 13 January 2021. The law was then approved by the Guardian Council, a body tasked with ensuring legislative compliance with the Constitution and Sharia law, on 3 February and signed by President Hassan Rouhani yesterday, 18 February. The new law will enter into force 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette, a paper under the auspices of the Judiciary publishing all new laws.“ (ARTICLE 19, 19 February 2021)

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) elaborates in an August 2021 publication of August 2021 that the aforenamed amendments are related to the articles 499 and 500 of the Penal Code. The statement elaborates on the content of the amendments to the articles 499 and 500 as follows:

„The government of Iran has continued its egregious repression of religious minorities in the first half of 2021. On February 18, then-President Hassan Rouhani signed two alarming amendments to Articles 499 and 500 of the Penal Code passed in January 2021 by Iran’s parliament. The amendment to Article 499 imposes prison sentences and fines on anyone who insults ‘divine religions or Islamic schools of thought recognized under the Constitutions with the intent to cause violence or tensions in the society.’ The amendment to Article 500 penalizes those who conduct ‘any deviant educational or proselytizing activity that contradicts or interferes with the sacred law of Islam.’ The language of these amendments is designed for persecuting specific Iranian religious minorities that the government considers a threat.“ (USCIRF, August 2021, S. 1)

In an entry on their website dated April 2021, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) mentions that the amended articles 499 and 500 are part of Book V of the Iranian Penal Code. The statement elaborates on the content of the amendments to the articles 499 and 500 as follows:

„In 2020, the Iranian Parliament amended the Fifth Book of the Islamic Penal Code. The amendments to Article 499 of the Fifth Book of the IPC provides that anyone who ‘causes division or violence’ through insulting or spreading lies about divine religions shall be sentenced to imprisonment or fine, if not found guilty of hadd punishments. If such actions are committed within a criminal organized group, or published in the real or virtual sphere through communication tools, the prescribed punishment will be intensified. The amendment to Article 500 of the Fifth Book of the IPC lists “any action that causes psychological domination over another person” as a punishable offense.“ (IHRDC, 12 August 2021)

In July 2013, the IHRDC published an unofficial English translation of Book V of the Iranian Penal Code. According to a preface commentary, it is the translation of the version of Book V adopted in May 1996 and deals with crimes against national security, crimes against property and crimes against people, including theft and fraud (IHRDC, 15. July 2013). The unofficial English translation of Book V is available under the following link:

In an April 2014 preface commentary on the publication of a translation of Books I and II of the revised Iranian Penal Code, the IHRDC mentions that the new Penal Code, amended in January 2012, replaces Books I, II, III and IV of the old Penal Code. However, the January 2012 amendment of the Criminal Laws did not affect book V. The statement elaborates on the content of Books I-IV of the revised Penal Code as follows:

“Book One of the new IPC [Islamic Penal Code] incorporates the preliminary provisions and definitions. Book Two covers, arguably, the most controversial part of the Code, Islamic hudud which are those crimes with fixed and severe punishments in Islamic sources, including, inter alia, illicit (outside of marriage) sex (known as zina), sodomy and homosexual acts between men (livat) and women (mosahaqa), insulting the Prophet (sabb-e-nabi), and consumption of an intoxicant (shorb-e-khamr). Book Three and Book Four address qisas (retaliation) and diyat (monetary compensation for deaths and bodily injuries).” (IHRDC, 4 April 2014)

The same website provides the above mentioned unofficial English translation of Books I and II of the Iranian Penal Code. It includes all amendments up to January 2012:

No English translations of the current versions of Books III, IV and V of the Criminal Code could be found.

Criminal Procedure Code

The state-run ‘Laws and Regulations Portal of Iran’ provides the Persian version of the amended Code of Criminal Procedure of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The code came into force in this form in June 2015:

  • Code of Criminal Procedure of the Islamic Republic of Iran [قانون آيين دادرسي كيفري], came into force on 22 June 2015, language: Persian (available on ‘Laws and Regulations Portal of Iran’)
    https://qavanin.ir/Law/TreeText/226595

In a teaser to a February 2016 article, the IHRDC states that an amended Code of Criminal Procedure entered into force in June 2015. (IHRDC, no date).

No English translation of the current version of the Code of Criminal Procedure could be found.

In December 2011, IHRDC published an unofficial English translation of an older version of the Code of Criminal Procedure:

The following publications of IHRDC and Amnesty International of August 2015 and February 2016 contain further information on the version of the Code of Criminal Procedure that entered into force in June 2015:

Civil Code and Citizenship Law

The state-run ‘Laws and Regulations Portal of Iran’ provides a Persian version of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

  • Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran [قانون مدني], 14 December 1935, language: Persian (available on ‘Laws and Regulations Portal of Iran’)
    https://qavanin.ir/Law/TreeText/178971

UNHCR’s Refworld provides an English translation of the Iranian Civil Code. The document's metadata says that the law was published in May 1928 and was last amended in July 2006. The Website refers to the following Persian version of the law, available on the website of the Research Centre of the Iranian Parliament, which represents the current state of the law, according to the metadata of the website (Refworld, no date):

  • Civil Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran [قانون مدنی], adopted on 8 May 1928, language: Persian (available on the website of the Islamic Parliament Research Center Of The Islamic Republic Of Iran)
    http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/97937

The unofficial English translation mentioned above can be found under the following Refworld-link. However, according to the metadata of the website, the December 1985 amendment was the last one to be included in this translation:

A website of the Iran Data Portal, an online portal for socio-economic and political data financed by the Universities of Princeton and Syracuse, provides English extracts from the Iranian Civil Code (Book II and Book VII/Chapter 3) relevant to the subject of Iranian citizenship. The website was last updated in April 2013:

The following publication of the European University Institute and the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, authored by researcher Eliyah Delavari and published in September 2020, contains information on the Citizenship Law in Iran:

Family Law

The state-run ‘Laws and Regulations Portal of Iran’ provides a Persian version of the Family Protection Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

  • Family Protection Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted on 19 February 2013, language: Persian (available on Laws and Regulations Portal of Islamic Republic of Iran)
    https://qavanin.ir/Law/TreeText/187568

In February 2011, IHRDC published an unofficial English translation of an older version of the Family Protection Law. In contradiction to the publication date of the translation, which is stated as 7 February 2011, the title of the publication indicates that amendments up to August 2011 are included in the translation:

No English translation of the current version of the Family Protection Law could be found.

In a November 2021 article, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on the commencement of the new “Rejuvenation of the Population and Support of the Family” bill, which addresses issues such as abortion or contraception (RFE/RL, 18 November 2021).

The state-run ‘Laws and Regulations Portal of Iran’ provides the Persian version of the “Rejuvenation of the Population and Support of the Family” bill, which entered into force in November 2021:

  • Rejuvenation of the Population and Support of the Family Bill of the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted on 16 October 2021, language: Persian (available on Laws and Regulations Portal of Islamic Republic of Iran)
    https://qavanin.ir/Law/TreeText/295651

No English translation of the current version of the Rejuvenation of the Population and Support of the Family Bill could be found.

References:

(all links accessed 24 January 2022)

Cite as:

ACCORD - Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: ecoi.net Iran Law Guide, January 2022
https://www.ecoi.net/en/countries/iran/law-guide/