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Iran (Islamic Republic of) [1] [print]

Last edited: December 2005

Summary and Analysis


We were unable to find any statutory provisions that speak to Iran's implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) with respect to the child's right to be heard in child protective proceedings.  Moreover, it is unclear to what extent formal child protective proceedings exist. 


Iran signed the CRC in September of 1991 and ratified the CRC in July of 1994, reserving the right to not apply any provision of the CRC that is not compatible with Islamic Laws and the international legislation in effect.[2]  According to the Committee on the Rights of the Child response report, the CRC is binding and has the force of law in Iran in accordance with Article 77 of the Constitution and Article 9 of the Civil Code.[3]  It remains unclear where in the hierarchy of binding laws the CRC falls.


Iran has submitted two reports thus far to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, one in 1998 and one in 2003.  In the first report, with respect to Article 12's application to judicial proceedings Iran says, “[c]hildren are free to express their views provided the exercise of this right is not contrary to their best interest, and according to the law they have the right to be heard in any judicial proceedings. This right is exercised by the natural or legal guardian. The child has the right to appear in court with the guardian or parents or any other person designated by the public prosecutor.”[4] 


Most likely Iran is referring to Article 1235 of the Civil Code which makes the guardian the representative of the child in all legal affairs.  However, the role of the guardian as representative is not defined.  Obvious conflicts could arise in a child protective context if the guardian is to be the representative of the child, but is also the reason for the child needing protection. 


Additionally, there are other laws that give the impression that perhaps the views of children are not always taken into account.  For example, Article 1169 of the Civil Code makes custody determinations based completely on the child's age (with different age requirements for males versus females).


UNICEF's own evaluation of Iran's compliance with the CRC, published the same year as Iran's first state party report, has unequivocally stated that children are not provided with the right to be heard in child protective proceedings or in fact in all types of relevant judicial or administrative proceedings.[5]


Articles 1172 and 1173 of the Civil Code do contemplate mechanisms for the protection of children who are neglected, but procedurally it is unclear how these provisions are carried out and to what extent there is a formal proceeding. 


Iran passed the Child Protection Law in 2002 which criminalized child abuse and provided for mandatory reporting of abuse.  Importantly, this law also made child abuse a civic crime, which does not require a private plaintiff, meaning that parents can now be prosecuted for child abuse.[6]


Thus it seems that while Iran has made some progress legislatively in addressing child abuse, there is still a lack of concrete provisions guaranteeing the child's right to be heard, and moreover, a lack of concrete provisions providing for the protection of children who are abused and neglected.


Despite our best efforts, we were unable to locate a contact person in Iran.


Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)






Article 10

Since the family is the fundamental unit of Islamic society, all laws, regulations, and pertinent programmes must tend to facilitate the formation of a family, and to safeguard its sanctity and the stability of family relations on the basis of the law and the ethics of Islam.


Article 21

The government must ensure the rights of women in all respects, in conformity with Islamic criteria, and accomplish the following goals:

2…. the protection of children without guardians;
3.establishing competent courts to protect and preserve the family;

5.the awarding of guardianship of children to worthy mothers, in order to protect the interests of the children, in the absence of a legal guardian.




Child Protection Law, 2002[8]


Article 1

All individuals below the age of 18 shall enjoy the provisions of this law.


Article 2

All kinds of abuse leading to physical, mental or moral damage to the child endangering their physical or mental health is prohibited.


Article 3

Any kind of trading, selling or exploitation of children for the commitment of criminal actions such as smuggling is prohibited and the perpetrator, based on the case, shall be sentenced to 6 months to a year of imprisonment, or payment of ten to twenty million rials fine.


Article 4

Any kind of abuse, exploitation or physical and mental torturing of children or deliberately neglecting his/her mental and physical health and wellbeing or preventing the child from their education is prohibited and the perpetrator shall be sentenced to 3 months and a day to 6 months of imprisonment or to payment of up to ten million rials of fine.


Article 5

Child abuse is considered a civic crime and therefore, does not require a private plaintiff.


Article 6

All individuals, institutes or centers responsible for providing care to children who witness a case of child abuse are obliged by this law to report the case to the judicial sources in charge of legal follow-up and decision making.  Any breach of this obligation shall cause imprisonment of up to 6 months or payment of a fine up to 5 million rials.


Article 7

Actions under the framework of article 59 of Islamic Punishment Laws  ratified on 07/09/1370 (1991) and article 1179 of civil law ratified on 19/01/1314 (1935) is excluded from this law.


Article 8

Should the crimes subject to this law be included in other legal laws, or be subject to a higher (more) punishments by another law, based on the case, the punishment enshrined by the Sharia or the most sever punishment shall be used.


Article 9

This law will be enforced starting from its ratification date and pervious laws contradictory hereto shall be considered null and void.


Civil Code[9]


Article 1169

The mother of a child has priority in looking after her son until the age of two and her daughter until the age of seven.  As soon as this period is over, the custody of the child shall go to the father


Article 1172

Neither of the parents has the right to refuse maintaining the child during the period in which the custody of the child is with him or her.  If the custodian refuses to maintain the child, the judge will compel him or her to do so on application by the other parent, the guardian, one of the relatives or by application of the Public Prosecutor.  Where compelling the custodian to assume his or her responsibilities proves impossible or ineffective, the judge will secure the custody of the child at the expense of the father or, if he has died, at the expense of the mother.


Article 1173

Where the physical health or moral upbringing of the child is endangered by lack of care or moral degradation of the father or the mother who is the custodian, the court may, on the request of the child's relatives, his or her guardian or the Public Prosecutor, take whatever decision appropriate for the child's custody


Article 1179

Parents have the right punish their children, but they cannot on the basis of this right punish their children beyond the limits of correction


Article 1235

The guardian of the child is responsible for the child's well-being and protection and s/he represents the child in all cases of financial and legal affairs


Article 1262

The person who testifies must have passed the age of puberty and should maintain mental sanity.  S/he must also have free will, thus the testimony of one who has not reached puberty or is insane cannot be held valid


Islamic Penal Law[10]


Article 59

The following acts are not considered crimes: 1. The acts of the parents and legal guardians of minors and interdicted children which are done with the prime purpose of correcting or protecting them provided the aforementioned acts are within the conventional limits of correction and protection…


International Law


Convention on the Rights of Child[11]


Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.


Local Contact Information


UNICEF's Tehran Office - http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/iran_contact.html

(provided the Child Protection Law)


Additional Resources and Links


http://www.iranianchildren.org/index.php - Iranian Children's Rights Society

http://www.iranonline.com/iran/iran-info/Government/ - Iranian Government General Information Center

http://www.parstimes.com/law/Iran_law.html - Iran Law

http://www.alaviandassociates.com/ - Alavi and Associates Law Firm

M.A.R. Taleghany, The Civil Code of Iran (1995).



[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Ratifications and Reservations, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/english/countries/ratification/11.htm.

[3] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Iran, 24th Sess., 641st mtg. ¶ 17, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.123 (Jun. 28, 2002), available http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/4448a41dab88b4da802569000034deb0?Opendocument, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document. Article 77 states “International treaties, protocols, contracts, and agreements must be approved by the Islamic Consultative Assembly.” See Const. of Iran, available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document. Article 9 states “Treaty stipulations which have been, in accordance with the Constitutional Law, concluded between the Iranian Government and other government, shall have the force of law.” See  Iran Civil Code, available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[4] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of States parties due in 1996, Addendum: Islamic Republic of Iran, ¶ 27, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/41/Add.5 (Jul. 23, 1998), available

http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/ef9b2c6258f557db8025679a0035c3a2?Opendocument, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[5] The Convention on the Rights of the Child: Implementation Check-list of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Supplement to the State of the Young, Islamic Republic of Iran (UNICEF 1998), at 7.

[6] Maryam Falahati, Violence Against Children: Child Abuse, Organization for Defending the Victims of Violence, available http://www.odvv.org/article/childabuse.htm, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[7] Const. of Iran, available http://www.iranonline.com/iran/iran-info/Government/constitution.html, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[8] Child Protection Law (2002), (English text) available  here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document. Farsi article on the law available as .pdf Document.

[9] Civil Code of Iran (1991), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[10] Islamic Penal Law (1991), unable to find text of the Islamic Penal Law. Excerpt taken from The Convention on the Rights of the Child: Relevant Laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Supplement to the State of the Young, Islamic Republic of Iran (UNICEF 1998), at 10.

[11] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), entered into force Sept. 2, 1990, available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm. It is not clear whether the CRC carries greater or less weight than the Constitution and statutes.


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