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Women have long faced legal, political, economic and also social challenges in Iran. Iran"s 1906 constitution, composed by its first parliament, promised “equal rights before the law” for all Iranians, yet it claimed nothing certain about women. In between 1967 and also 1975, women gained new rights—to vote, initiate divorce, run for office, inherit property—during the monarchy. The legal period of marriage was also raised come 18. The 2nd constitution, created by Islamic revolutionaries and passed overwhelmingly in a referendum in 1979, especially stipulated that females were “equally protected.” however in practice, it gave women fewer social legal rights and an individual liberties.

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The Islamic Republic annulled many of the monarchy’s reforms, although that did no revoke the right to vote or operation for office. It embraced a polite code based on conservative Islamic legislation or Sharia, dropped the age of marital relationship to 13, and also eliminated a woman’s right to divorce her husband. The Islamic Republic imposed new restrictions on women’s dress, child custody, inheritance and also foreign travel.

Female activists and civil society organizations confronted “harassment, intimidation, detention, and smear campaigns,” the State Department report in 2019. Iranian courts have implemented harsh sentences on dozens of activists who challenged compulsory hijab laws. Between 2018 and 2020, the best-known instances included:

Narges Mohammadi, who to be sentenced to 11 years for leading a human rights organization, “colluding against national security," and also "generating propaganda against the state." She was released in October 2020 after a court commuted she sentence. Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was sentenced come 38 years for representing a mrs protesting the compulsory hijab covering, "espionage" and also "collusion against national security." Sotoudeh will be eligible for parole ~ 12 year in 2030.Sepideh Gholian, who was sentenced come to 19 years and also six months for reporting on labor protests, "publishing false news," and also "propaganda against the state. Her sentenced was commuted to 5 years and also she was released on bail in October 2019. Yasman Ariani, her mommy Monireh Arabshahi, and Mojgan Keshavarz, that were sentenced come a full of 16 years for protesting the dress code, “collusion” versus national security,” “propaganda versus the state,” and “encouraging” moral corruption and also prostitution.Saba Kordafshari, that was sentenced come 24 year in jail for “encouraging” for ethical corruption and prostitution, collusion versus national security, and also “propaganda versus the state.”Sahar Khodayari, who was arrested because that trying to get in a stadium to clock football and also charged v “wearing not correct hijab” and “confrontation v the police.” She collection herself on fire in front of the courthouse after she was threatened with a six-month imprisonment.Zahra Rahnavard, who has been under house arrest due to the fact that February 2011 because that her function as the spokesperson of the opposition green Movement and wife of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. She and also her husband tested hopeful for COVID-19 in November 2020.

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Discriminatory Laws

Marriage: The Islamic Republic initially lowered the period of marital relationship to nine because that girls. In 2002, parliament elevated the age to 13. The judiciary has blocked subsequent initiatives to progressive the age of marital relationship higher.

Divorce: A woman might only obtain a divorce in court through a judge’s order, when a man can get divorce by heralding it verbally. In 2002, the conference amended the regulation to enable a mrs to divorce she husband if he to be imprisoned, holy spirit ill, physically abusive or an addict.

Dress Code: every females are required to cover their hair and also dress modestly indigenous the period of puberty. The legislation vaguely characterized what constitutes acts versus morality, and authorities have actually long prosecuted hundreds of civilization for such acts, and also for consensual extramarital sex.

Child Custody: A divorced mrs forfeited child custody if she remarries, also if her husband died.

Nationality: For 40 years, women can not pass their nationality to foreign-born spouses or their children. In 2019, conference passed a law enabling women married to international men to request Iranian citizenship for youngsters under period 18.

Travel: A married woman can not obtain a passport or travel outside Iran without she husband’s composed permission. A husband could choose where the pair lives and also prevent his wife from taking certain jobs the he deemed against “family values.”

Inheritance: A widow only inherits one-eighth of she husband’s estate, but a widower inherits his wife’s entire estate. A boy inherits double as lot as a daughter. In 2009, parliament voted come let females inherit land.

The complying with are specific laws on women in the constitution and enacted by parliament. They different in the language that the law and also how they are used in practice. 



A Wedding in ~ Martyrs Fallah hall in Karaj

In the law: The rules on marriage are the most discriminatory. A man deserve to marry up to 4 women in ~ one time; women can only marry one husband. A woman needs a male guardian’s consent — one of two people from she father or paternal grandfather—to marry. Muslim females cannot marry non-Muslim men, when Muslim men have the right to marry Jews, believer or Zoroastrians. The revolutionary federal government lowered the age of marriage for ladies from 18 to 13 (in 1979) climate to ripe (in 1982). In 2002, the Majles raised the age of marriage ago to 13 for girls (and to 15 for boys). In a marriage contract, women are forced to be obedient to receive funds because that housing, clothes, food and furniture.

In practice: Polygamy is no common amongst men. Many women additionally do not marry till their twenties. In 2014, the average period of marriage for women was 23, although numerous girls under 13, also under 10, were forcibly married by their families. The average age for males was 28, the government reported.

Text the the laws:

Article 1041 of the polite Code: “Marriage before the age of puberty is prohibited. (Marriage prior to puberty by the permission the the Guardian and on problem of acquisition into factor to consider the ward’s attention is proper).”

Article 1041 of the Civil password (amended in 2002): “Marriage that girls before reaching the period of 13 full solar years and boys before reaching the age of 15 full solar year is subject to the permission the the Guardian and also on condition of taking the child’s ideal interest into consideration and approval the the pertinent court.”

Article 1043 that the civil Code: “The marriage of a girl who has not married previously is dependency on the permission of she father or her paternal grandfather also if she has actually reached the full age of puberty. If, however, the father or the paternal grandfather withhold the permission there is no justifiable reason, the girl have the right to refer to the unique Civil Court giving full particulars of the male whom she desires to get married and also the terms of the marriage and also the dowry money i agreeed upon and notify she father or her paternal grandfather through the Court.”

Article 1059 that the polite Code: “Marriage of a woman Muslim with a non–Muslim is no allowed.”

Article 1061 the the civil Code: “The federal government can make the marital relationship of details Government servants and officials and also students sustained by the government with a female international national dependent upon unique permission.”

Articles 1106 to 1108 that the polite Code: “The price of maintain of the mam is at the charge of the husband in irreversible marriages. Cost of maintenance contains dwelling, clothing, food, furniture in proportion come the instance of the wife, on a reasonable basis, and also provision of a servant if the mam is accustomed to have servants or if she demands one since of disease or defects that limbs. If the wife refuses come fulfil duties of a mam without legit excuse, she will certainly not be licensed has been granted to the expense of maintenance.”



In the law: Women additionally face discrimination in divorce. Females can only obtain a divorce in a court, while a guy can obtain a divorce just by proclaiming it verbally—and not even necessarily in her presence. In 1982, judges to be empowered to grant a divorce to a woman dealing with “difficult and also undesirable conditions.” The Majles amended the regulation in 2002 to enable a woman to divorce she husband if he was imprisoned for 5 or an ext years, holy ghost ill, physically abusive or an addict.

In practice: Divorce instances often end in shared agreement in between husband and also wife in court. Women need to prove the their husband is physical abusive or psychologically unstable, if the guy is unwilling come divorce. In 1992, president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani authorized a bill allowing women to case alimony payments, if husbands initiated a divorce. In 2014, much more than 20 percent of every marriages ended in divorce.

Text the the laws:

Article 1130 the the Civil password (amended in December 1982): “In the adhering to circumstances, the wife can refer come the Islamic judge and request because that a divorce. Once it is proved to the Court that the continuation of the marital relationship causes an overwhelming and undesirable conditions, the judge deserve to for the benefits of preventing harm and challenge compel the husband to, divorce his wife. If this can not be done, climate the divorce will be do on the permission of the Islamic judge.”

Article 1130 that the Civil password (amended in 2002): “The osr-va-haraj (difficult and undesirable conditions) pointed out in this write-up refers to the conditions that do the extension of life intolerable and an overwhelming for the wife; the adhering to circumstances, if confirmed in the relevant court, shall be taken into consideration as a case of osr-va-haraj:

1: The husband’s leave of marital life for, at least, 6 consecutive months, or, nine different months in a one year period, without any acceptable reason.

2: The husband’s seeks to any kind of kind of drugs or alcohol that, loss the marital life, and his refusal, or impossibility of compelling him, come quit the addiction in a duration prescribed through the doctor. If the husband walk not satisfy his promise , or, again begins his abuse, the divorce shall it is in granted by the inquiry of the wife.

3: Final conviction that the husband to five years, or more, imprisonment.

4: mam battery or any type of kind the mistreatment of the mam that is intolerable in the wife’s condition.

5: Husband’s affliction come incurable mental illnesses or contagious an illness or any kind of incurable diseases that disrupts the marital life.

The circumstances pointed out in this article are no exhaustive and the court may grant the divorce in other instances that osr-va-haraj is proved in the court.”

Article 1133 of the civil Code: “A man deserve to divorce his mam whenever he desire to carry out so.”


Child Custody

A mother and also her kid at a movie festival in Isfahan

In the law: Women have actually preferential custody over kids under seven. Courts established whether a mother or father it s okay custody of youngsters older 보다 seven. A divorced woman forfeits boy custody if she remarries, also if she husband is dead.

In practice: Divorced women are most likely to lose custody of your children, particularly if they are financially dependency on alimony.

Text that the laws:

Article 21 that the Constitution that the Islamic Republic the Iran: “The federal government must ensure the civil liberties of ladies in every respects, in conformity with Islamic criteria, and achieve the complying with goals... The awarding the guardianship of kids to worthy mothers, in stimulate to safeguard the understanding of the children, in the lack of a legal guardian.”

Article 1168 come 1170 the the civil Code: “Custody of kids is both the right and also duty of the parents. A mother has actually preference over others for two years from the bear of her son for the custody that the child and also after the lapse of this period custody will devolve top top the father expect in the case of a daughter that will remain under the custody that the mother till 7 years. If the mommy becomes insane or marries another man during her duration of custody, the custody will certainly devolve on the father.”

Article 1169 the the Civil password (amended in 2002): “For the custody of children whose parents room separated, the mother has priority till the period of seven; and then, custody will devolve top top the father. After reaching seven year of age, in the instance of dispute, considering the ideal interest of the child, the court will decide that receives custody of the child.”


Dress Code

In the law: Women challenge restrictions on dress and also severe punishment for violations. The Islamic Republic mandated wearing head covering, or hijab, in public. Violators confront punishments that encompass up to two months in prison, fines of up to 500,000 rials and also up come 74 lashes.

In practice: Fewer ladies in significant cities wear the all-enveloping black chadors, while plenty of young females wear scarves that barely cover your hair. So plenty of women began wearing tight leggings that legislator summoned the interior minister in June 2014 to question the lax enforcement the the dress code. 

Public opinion has actually shifted significantly, the parliamentary Research center reported in 2018. In 2006, 55 percent that respondents stated that state must “confront” women that disobey hijab; by 2014, only 40 percent claimed that the state should challenge violators.

In may 2017, women introduced the White Wednesday protests versus hijab by removing your headscarves in publicly places and also waving them on a stick. Numerous were arrested and charged v crimes, such as collusion against national security, propaganda versus the state, and encouraging moral corruption and also prostitution. They risked fines or lashings.

Text of the laws:

Article 638 the the Islamic Penal Code: “Anyone in publicly places and roads that openly commits a harām (sinful) act, in enhancement to the punishment detailed for the act, shall it is in sentenced to 2 months’ imprisonment or as much as 74 lashes; and if they commit an act that is no punishable yet violates publicly prudency, lock shall just be sentenced to ten job to two months’ imprisonment or up to 74 lashes.”

 “Women, who show up in public places and also roads there is no wearing one Islamic hijab , shall be sentenced to ten work to 2 months’ imprisonment or a fine of fifty thousands to 5 hundred Rials.



In 2020, Reyhaneh was the very first child the a non-Iranian father to gain citizenship

In the law: Women can’t automatically transfer citizenship to children or spouses.

In practice: Women have gradually got rights top top citizenship problems involving family members members. In 2019, parliament passed a law allowing the children of women married to foreigners to use for Iranian citizenship. In the past, countless have properly been stateless. The law went into result in 2020.

Text of the law:

Article 976 the the civil code: “The following persons are taken into consideration to be Iranian subjects… people born in Iran of a dad of international nationality who have resided at least one an ext year in Iran immediately after getting to the full period of 18.”

Article 1 of regulation amending citizenship of kids (2019): “Children born come legal marital relationship of Iranian ladies to non-Iranian guys who to be born or will certainly be born prior to or after the adoption of this law before reaching the age of eighteen … come to be citizens of Iran in ~ the inquiry of the Iranian mother. The above-mentioned children can apply for Iranian citizenship after getting to the age of 18, if the Iranian mom does no apply.”



Zahra Nemati, a two-time Paralympic yellow medalist, was permitted to travel abroad without she husband"s permission.

In the law: Women challenge restrictions on travel abroad. A woman needs a husband’s permission to obtain a passport or travel exterior the country.

In practice: Husbands could choose to carry out blanket permission because that his wife’s take trip or require her come ask because that permission because that each pilgrimage abroad. Single women over the period of 18 could attain a passport there is no permission but still forced their guardian’s approval to leave the country. Women getting here at airports would sometimes uncover their permission to take trip abroad had actually been revoked by your husband or male guardian and also were prevented from boarding flights. In rarely circumstances, authorities would intervene to permit female athletes to contend abroad over a husband’s objections.

Text the the law:

Article 18 of the Passport legislation of 1973: “A passport shall be issued because that the following persons according to this article…Married women, even if under 18 years old, with the written agreement of your husbands.”



In the law: Under Islamic inheritance law, a male is granted his deceased wife’s whole estate, while a widow receives only one-eighth of she husband’s estate. A child inherits twice as lot as a daughter. Until 2009, widows could not inherit land. Parliament climate voted to let ladies inherit land.

In practice: Affluent families have circumvented the law by transporting the residential or commercial property titles before death. In part cases, males have also bought building in the names of their wives or kids in case they die very first to avoid civil code requirements.

Text the the laws:

Article 949 of the polite Code: “If the deceased has actually left no living children, and also no living children’s children of every little thing degree, either of the parents, if alone, takes the whole estate; and if the father and also mother that the deceased space both alive, the mom takes one - 3rd and the father two - thirds. But if the mother comes after who else, one-sixth the the estate belongs to the mother and also the rest to the father.”

Article 907 that the polite Code: “If the deceased leaves no parents, yet has one or more children, the estate will be separated as follows:

“If the offspring is composed of just one, whether child or daughter, the entirety of the legacy belongs to the child. If there are number of children, yet all are sons or every daughters, the estate will be separated equally amongst them.

“If there are number of children, part being sons and some daughters each boy takes twice as much as each daughter.”

Article 908 of the civil Code:  “If the father or the mother of the deceased, or both parents, room alive, in addition to one daughter, the share of each among the father and the mother will be one-sixth of the estate.; and also the re-publishing of the daughter will be one - fifty percent there of. The remainder should be divided among all the remainder of the heirs in proportion come the re-publishing of each; unless the mommy comes after someone else, in which situation the mom takes no part of the remainder.”

Article 909 that the polite Code: “If the father or the mother, or both the parental of the deceased room alive, along with several daughters, the share of the entirety of the daughters will certainly be two-thirds of the estate ,which is to be split equally amongst them; and the ‘share’ of each one of the father and the mom will it is in one - 6th . And if there be a remainder it will certainly be divided amongst all the heirs in ratio to your shares uneven the mom comes after someone else, in which situation the mom will not take any part of the remainder.”

Article 911 that the civil Code:If the deceased leaves no young or daughters, his grandchildren space the legal representatives of his boy or daughters, and in this means are reckoned together belong in come the very first degree that descendants, and take inheritance with each among the parents who space alive.

“The division of the inheritance among the grandchildren will take ar in accordance through their sex, the is to say, each individual will take the portion the person through who he claims descent indigenous the deceased; hence, the youngsters of a kid take twice as lot as the kids of a daughter.

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“In the department among individuals of each sex, a boy takes twice as lot as a girl.”

Article 913 the the civil Code: “In all the conditions mentioned in this subsection, whichever of the married pair is the survivor bring away his or her, share and also this share method one half of the estate because that the making it through husband and one-quarter because that the making it through wife, listed that the deceased left no kids or grandchildren; and also it means one - 4 minutes 1 of the estate for the husband and also one - eighth because that the wife if the deceased left children or children’s children. And the remainder of the legacy is to it is in divided amongst the various other heirs in accordance with the preceding Articles.”

Article 914 that the civil Code: “If, fan to the presence of numerous persons entitled to shares, the legacy of the deceased it is in not adequate to meet of them, the deficiency falls on the daughter or the 2 daughters; and if, ~ deduction that the section of those entitled to shares over there still stays something, and also there be no heirs entitled to take it the remainder by means of relationship, this remainder will be divided amongst the persons entitled to share in accordance with the provisions that the preceding Articles; but the husband and also the mam in all case, and also the mom if she come after who else, take it no part of the remainder.”

Article 945 of the Civil password (amended in 2009): “If a guy marries a woman once he is ill, and dies the that an illness before consummation the the marriage, the mam does not take inheritance indigenous him; however if he dies after consummation, or after recovery from the disease, the wife takes inheritance indigenous him.”

Article 946 that the polite Code: “The husband take away inheritance indigenous the totality of the heritage of the deceased wife; and also the mam inherits one-eighth the the really movable property and one-eighth of the price that immovable property consisting of site and also buildings, if the deceased husband has children. If the husband has actually children, the share of the wife will be one-fourth the the residential or commercial property stipulated together follows.

Article 949 the the civil Code: “If there is no various other heir other than for the husband or wife, the husband take away the whole of the heritage of his late wife; however the mam takes just her portion, and the remainder of the heritage of the husband is considered as the heritage of a guy without any type of heir, and also will be encountered in accordance with write-up 866.”



Photo Credits: Judiciary logo design via Wikimedia Commons (CC by SA 4.0); Zahra Nemati via Tasnim News company (CC through 4.0), Wedding via Tasnim News company (CC through 4.0), Mother and also Child via Tasnim News firm (CC through 4.0), Rayhaneh via ILNA