Iran: Parliament passes law to further choke freedoms and target minorities

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Two new additional provisions to Iran’s Islamic Penal Code will pose serious risks to the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief in Iran. ARTICLE 19 is deeply dismayed that Iran’s parliament has passed these provisions in breach of international law and standards. The Iranian authorities must immediately repeal them and take measures to bring the country’s legal framework in line with the country’s international human rights obligations.

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.