Constitutional Provisions

Under the 1979 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (as amended through 1989), 

The dignity, life, property, rights, residence, and occupation of the individual are inviolate, except in cases sanctioned by law.Art. 22, 1979 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (as amended).

According to Article 27, "Unarmed assemblies and marches may be freely organized, provided that no violation of the foundations of Islam is involved." Article 38 prohibits all forms of torture "for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information".

By virtue of Article 172:

Military courts will be established by law to investigate crimes committed in connection with military or security duties by members of the Army, the Gendarmerie, the police, and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. 

 The Constitution does not otherwise regulate the actions of law enforcement agencies.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 Not party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) Not party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints N/A
CAT Optional Protocol 1 Not party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Signatory

Regional Treaties

There is no regional Asian human rights treaty to which Iran could become party.

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

Several agencies share responsibility for law enforcement in Iran. The police force of Iran is called the Law Enforcement Force (NAJA).  This unified force resulted from the merger of the three historical Iranian law enforcement forces: the police, the gendarmerie and the “committees”. Various policing duties are conducted by different branches of the NAJA, such as the Prevention Police, the Intelligence and Public Security Police, and the Cyber Police. The security forces under the Ministry of Interior report to the president, while a branch of the military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran. The Basij, a volunteer paramilitary group with local organizations across the country, sometimes acts as an auxiliary law enforcement unit subordinate to military IRGC forces.

The NAJA as a whole is governed by its own regulations and is subject to the “Law on the Use of Weapons by the Armed Forces Officers in Necessary Cases”. A revised version of Iran's Penal Code was implemented from early 2013 for an experimental period of five years. According to Article 157 of this Code, resistance against police forces and other law enforcement officials whilst performing their duties shall not be considered a defence unless these forces exceed the scope of their duties and there is a legitimate fear that their actions may cause death or injury or violation of bodily integrity.

Police Oversight

There is no independent police oversight body in Iran.



Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In 2016, in its Concluding Observations on Iran the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed its deep concern 

at the widespread discrimination against children from ethnic minorities, such as the Ahwazi Arab, Azerbaijani Turkish, Baloch and Kurdish minorities. It is particularly concerned about the reports of targeted arrests, detention, imprisonment, killing, torture and execution of members of such groups by law enforcement and judicial authorities. 

The Committee urged the authorities "to ensure that reports of unlawful arrests, detention, imprisonments, killings, torture and executions targeted against members of minority groups, including children, are promptly investigated and the perpetrators are held accountable".

In 2011, the Human Rights Committee issued Concluding Observations on Iran in which it expressed concern about reports of widespread use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in detention facilities, particularly of those accused of national security-related crimes or tried in Revolutionary Courts. In some cases, this has resulted in the death of the detainee. The Committee called on Iran to 

ensure that an inquiry is opened in each case of alleged torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in detention facilities, and that the perpetrators of such acts are prosecuted and punished appropriately. It should ensure that effective reparation, including adequate compensation, is granted to every victim.  

Views of Civil Society 

In April 2020, Amnesty International reported that around 36 prisoners in Iran were feared to have been killed by security forces after the use of lethal force to control protests over COVID-19 safety fears. 


1979 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (as amended) (English translation)

2004 Law on the Use of Weapons by Armed Forces Officers in Necessary Cases (Iranian original)

2013 Islamic Penal Code (Original Version)

2016 Code of Criminal Procedure (Original Version)

Committee on the Rights of the Child Concluding Observations on Iran (2016)

Human Rights Committee Concluding Observations on Iran (2011)