Legal opportunity for a divorced man to complain of adultery by his ex-wife for acts alleged to have occurred during the marriage; reports of adulteries being prosecuted under these circumstances (1999-2002) [IRN38711.E]

The Research Directorate was unable to find reports of women accused by their ex-husband of adultery alleged to have occurred during the marriage among sources consulted for this Response. For earlier responses concerning accusations, charges and punishments for adultery under Iranian revolutionary law please see inter alia IRN38474.E of 15 March 2002, IRN38037.E of 5 December 2001, IRN29543.E of 2 July 1998 and IRN26039.E of 18 February 1997.

According to the Iranian Laws of Hodoud and Qasas [Punishment and Retribution],

Article 100 - Fornication involves punishment of Rajm [stoning to death] in the following instances:
b) Adultery by a married woman, that is, a woman having a permanent husband with whom she has copulated and enjoyment with whom is possible, involves stoning to death if committed with a mature man (Pars Associates 1998, 34).

The laws do not specify a time-frame within which the accusation must be made; however according to the Women's Learning Partnership a male may accuse his wife of adultery post-mortem such that:

If the husband falsely accuses of adultery his deceased wife ... who is survived by inheritors other than [a child from him], the penalty shall apply [to the husband] (24 Dec. 2001).

Divorces taking place outside of Iran are not recognized by the Iranian government unless "they are endorsed by Iranian embassies, consulates, or the rituals are repeated in Iran" (Association of Iranian Women Sept. 1998). As such, an ex-wife may be accused of, and arrested for, adultery in Iran if she remarries following an unendorsed divorce outside of Iran (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.


Pars Associates, Tehran, Iran. 1998. Z. Majdzadeh, M. Khajeh Nouri, M. R. Matine, G. H. Guillot. Laws of Hodoud and Qasas [Punishment and Retribution] and Provisions Thereof. Legal Information Sheet.

Women's Learning Partnership. 5 March 2002. "About Us." [Accessed 13 May 2002]

_____. 24 December 2001. "Islamic Penal Code: Excerpts Relating to Women" [Accessed 7 May 2002]

According to the their website, the "Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP) is an international, non-governmental organization (NGO) that empowers women and girls in the Global South to re-imagine and re-structure their roles in their families, communities, and societies. WLP achieves this goal through providing leadership training, supporting capacity building, and helping women generate and receive information and knowledge (5 Mar. 2002).

Association of Iranian Women. September 1998. Iranian Women's Brief No. 2. "Married Women Should Absolutely Obey Their Husbands." [Accessed 7 May 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


Unsuccessful attempts to contact two oral sources

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Association of Iranian Women

Civil Code of Iran. Translation from Persian by M.A.R. Taleghany. (Littleton, CO: Rothman & Co.)

Human Rights Watch

Iran NGO Initiative

Iranian Women's Brief

Virtual Iran

Women's Solidarity Association of Iran

World News Connection

Search engines