The UN Secretary General, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, the UN General Assembly, and the UN Human Rights Council have repeatedly called on Iran to revise its penal code to adhere to international human rights standards. In February 2010, the Iranian government accepted specific recommendations made under its Universal Periodic Review to ensure that its laws were in conformity with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which it is a party.
Nonetheless, today, Iran’s parliament is preparing to pass the “Islamic Penal Bill” – legislation that flouts its legal obligations under the ICCPR. The legislation endangers free expression and reinforces laws that violate the rights of Iranian citizens. The bill fails to prohibit stoning, lashing, and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishments; redress discriminatory laws; or, raise the age of majority for girls and boys. In a particularly worrisome clause, the bill expands punishment for “actions against national security”, a charge that has routinely been used to persecute dissidents.