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TITLE: IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE: FEBRUARY 1995









                             IRAN*


The Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979 after a 
populist revolution toppled the monarchy.  The Government is 
dominated by Shi'a Muslim clergymen and their lay allies.  
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the Leader of the Islamic Revolution 
and functions as the Chief of State.  He is also the 
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.  President Ali Akbar 
Hashemi-Rafsanjani, first elected in a popular vote in 1989,  
was reelected in 1993.  The Constitution, approved in l980 by 
popular referendum and revised in 1989, provides for a 270-seat 
unicameral Islamic Consulative Assembly, or Majles.  The 
Government seeks to ensure that public policy is consistent 
with its view of political and socioreligious values, but 
serious factional differences exist within the leadership.  The 
Government reinforces its power by arrests, summary trials and 
executions, and various forms of intimidation.

Several government agencies are responsible for internal 
security, including the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, 
the Ministry of Interior, and the Revolutionary Guards, a 
military force established after the revolution which is 
coequal with the regular military.  These organizations 
regularly commit such abuses such arbitrary arrests and torture.

Iran has a mixed economy.  The Government owns the petroleum 
and utilities industries and the banks.  Oil exports are the 
primary source of foreign exchange.  The economy is still 
recovering from the disruptions of the 1979 revolution and the 
destruction from the Iran-Iraq war.  Iran remains isolated from 
international financial markets.  Economic performance is 
adversely affected by corruption and government mismanagement.  
Unemployment in 1994 was estimated at 30 percent, and the 
annual rate of inflation was about 50 percent.

The Government continues to be a major abuser of human rights.  
There was no evidence of improvement in 1994.  In March, the 
United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR) concluded 
that the Government's "continuing" abuse of human rights 
justifies international scrutiny.  The United Nations extended 
for another year the mandate of Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, its 
Special Representative on Human Rights in Iran.  Systematic 
abuses include arbitrary arrests and detentions, widespread use

                                     
*The United States does not have an embassy in Iran.  
Accordingly, it draws heavily on non-U.S. Government sources,
of torture, lack of fair trials, summary executions, and 
repression of the freedoms of speech, press, and association.

A prominent social critic and historian, Ali Akbar 
Saidi-Sirjani, died in detention in November, 10 months after 
his arrest on improbable criminal charges.  The Government 
claims Saidi-Sirjani died of a heart attack but did not permit 
an independent autopsy.  The Government failed to provide 
adequate protection for three Evangelical Christian leaders who 
were murdered in 1994.  Women face legal and social 
discrimination, important worker rights are restricted, and the 
Government continues to persecute the adherents of the Baha'i 
faith.  There is a lively and open debate on political issues 
but the ruling clerics effectively control the electoral 
process, thereby denying the people the right to change their 
government.  The Government conceals its abuses and obstructs 
the activities of human rights monitors.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1                    Respect for the Integrity of the 
                             Person, Including Freedom from:

    a.   Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Given the lack of basic procedural safeguards in political 
trials, most of the executions ordered in such cases amount to 
summary executions.  The U.N. Special Representative on Human 
Rights in Iran has cited the Government's "extensive" use of 
the death penalty.  Although the domestic press stopped 
reporting most executions in 1992, executions appear to 
continue at a rate of several hundred a year.  Exiles and human 
rights monitors report that many of those executed for alleged 
criminal offenses were actually political dissidents.

On February 25, the Government executed Faizullah Makhubat, 78, 
a Jew who had been detained under harsh conditions for 22 
months at Evin Prison in Tehran.  A leading member of Iran's 
Jewish community, Makhubat was convicted of espionage and 
sabotage.  After taking delivery of the body, Makhubat's family 
members discovered that the eyes had been gouged out, the teeth 
broken, and contusions and bruises covered the body.

In November, Ali Akbar Saidi-Sirjani, a leading intellectual 
dissident, died in detention 8 months after his arrest on the 
improbable charges of drug trafficking and espionage.  
Authorities claimed the cause of death was a heart attack, but 
members of Saidi-Sirjani's family maintain that he had no history of heart disease or drug problems.  The Government did 
not allow an independent autopsy.

A best selling author, Saidi-Sirjani was a prominent advocate 
of abolishing censorship.  He emphasized Iran's pre-Islamic 
tradition of respect for individual rights and of fighting 
tyranny.  He was arrested on March 14 with journalist Niazi 
Kermani, reportedly because they had published a work 
questioning the principles of the 1979 revolution.  Iranian 
newspapers published their alleged confessions to crimes of 
moral turpitude.

Five members of the outlawed Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran 
were reportedly executed in February at Diselabad Prison in 
Kermanshah for engaging in unspecified political activity.  The 
victims, who were allegedly tortured prior to execution, were:  
Hossein Sobhani, Rauf Mohammadi, Bahman Kosravi, Ghaderi 
Moradi, and Adel Abdollahi.

Three Evangelical Christian ministers were murdered by unknown 
assailants.  The Government had accused them of seeking 
converts among Muslims.  The Rev. Mehdi Dibaj, a pastor of the 
Assemblies of God church, was arrested in 1993 and sentenced to 
death for apostasy.  He was released from prison in January 
after his case received international publicity, but was 
abducted and murdered.  His body was discovered on a Tehran 
street in July.

The Rev. Haik Hovsepian-Mehr, who served as Chairman of the 
Council of Protestant Ministers and Secretary General of the 
Assemblies of God church, was abducted in February and found 
dead a few days later.  Prior to his murder, Rev. 
Hovsepian-Mehr reportedly refused to sign a declaration from 
the then Ministry of Islamic Guidance stating that Iranian 
Christians enjoyed full constitutional rights.  The Rev. Tateos 
Michaelian, the pastor of St. John Presbyterian Evangelical 
Church in Tehran, and acting chairman of the Council of 
Protestant Ministers (a position he assumed after the abduction 
of Rev. Hovsepian-Mehr), was abducted in June.  According to 
the Government, the Rev. Michaelian's body was discovered in 
July, stuffed into a large freezer, with bullet wounds in the 
throat and the back of the neck.

In response to an inquiry from the U.N. Special Representative, 
the Government in October claimed that the ministers were 
murdered by operatives of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, an opposition 
group seeking the Government's overthrow.  Although there is no 
evidence that the Government was involved in the killings, it 
bears responsibility for trying the Rev. Dibaj for apostasy and 
fostering an atmosphere of religious intolerance.

In February security forces reportedly killed a number of Sunni 
Muslims who staged a demonstration in the city of Zahedan to 
protest the Government's destruction of a local mosque.  In 
August a large spontaneous demonstration broke out in the city 
of Qazvin after the Majles rejected a proposal to designate the 
city as a separate province.  The Government dispatched troops 
to quell the disturbance, which reportedly attracted up to 
100,000 demonstrators.  During their efforts to restore order, 
the troops reportedly killed dozens of demonstrators and 
wounded hundreds.

The Government continued to assassinate political opponents 
abroad.  On January 4, a member of the Revolutionary Command of 
the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, Taha Kermani, was 
assassinated in Corum, Turkey.  Prior to his murder, Mr. 
Kermani was designated a refugee by the U.N. High Commissioner 
for Refugees (UNHCR).  On March 10, a member of the Kurdish 
Democratic Party of Iran was assassinated in Sulaymaniyah, 
Iraq.  A member of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, Ahmad Sadi Lahijani, 
was assassinated in Ghalebeih, Iraq, on May 29.  On June 24, a 
member of the Revolutionary Command of the Kurdish Democratic 
Party of Iran, Osman Mohamad Amini, was murdered in his 
apartment in Copenhagen.  On November 14, a monarchist 
opposition figure, Ali Mohammed Assadi, was stabbed to death in 
Bucharest.

Investigations of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism abroad 
continued in 1994.  In December a court in France convicted 
three Iranians of the 1991 assassination of former Prime 
Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar and his assistant, Katibeh 
Fallouch.  Defendents Ali Vakili Rad and Massoud Hendi were 
sentenced to life and 18 years, respectively.  The prosecutor 
said the crime was organized from "within the heart of the 
Islamic Republic of Iran."

In 1993 the Government of Switzerland requested the extradition 
from France of two Iranians indicted in the 1991 murder in 
Geneva of Karem Rajavi, the brother of the leader of the 
Mojahedin-e Khalq, Masud Rajavi.  Instead, the French 
Government expelled the suspects to Iran on December 29, 1993.  
The two were among 13 Iranians indicted by the Swiss Government 
for the murder; the other 11 were at large at the time of the 
indictments.

The trial of Kazem Darabi, an Iranian citizen charged with 
murdering four Iranian Kurdish dissidents in Berlin in 1992 
under instructions from the Iranian Government, continued in 
Germany.

     b.  Disappearance

No reliable information is available on the number of 
disappearances in 1994.  However, in 1994 the UNCHR conveyed to 
the Government in 1994 the names of 506 missing persons.  In 
the period immediately following arrest, many detainees are 
held incommunicado, a situation that amounts to temporary 
disappearance.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Credible reports indicate that security forces continue to 
torture detainees and prisoners.  Common methods include 
suspension for long periods in contorted positions, burning 
with cigarettes, and most frequently, severe and repeated 
beatings with cables or other instruments on the back and the 
soles of the feet.  Reports of flogging, stoning, amputations, 
and public executions also are common.

Some prisoners are held in solitary confinement or denied 
adequate rations or medical care to force confessions.  Female 
prisoners have reportedly been raped or otherwise tortured 
while in detention.  In the past, prison guards have 
intimidated the family members of detainees and have sometimes 
tortured detainees in their presence.

A German engineer, Helmut Szimkus, was released from Evin 
prison in Tehran on July 1 after serving 5 1/2 years for 
alleged spying.  Szimkus later told reporters that he was 
tortured in prison and claimed he had witnessed guards torture 
children in the presence of their parents to extract 
confessions from the adults.

In September the International Committee of the Red Cross 
(ICRC) issued a report on "unresolved humanitarian issues" from 
the Iran-Iraq war.  The ICRC noted that the Government violated 
the Third Geneva Convention by failing to identify combatants 
killed in action and exchange information on those killed or 
missing.  According to the report, the fate of almost 19,000 
Iraqi prisoners of war (POW's) in Iran "remained unknown."  The 
report criticized the Government for obstructing ICRC efforts 
to register and repatriate POWs.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Although the Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and 
detention, there is reportedly no legal time limit on 
incommunicado detention, nor any judicial means to determine 
the legality of detention.  Suspects may be held for 
questioning in jails or local Revolutionary Guard offices.

The security forces often do not inform family members of a 
prisoner's welfare and whereabouts.  If known, the prisoner 
still may be denied visits by family and legal counsel.  In 
addition, families of executed prisoners do not always receive 
notification of the prisoner's death.  The family of Bahman 
Samandir, a Baha'i exeucted by the Government in 1992, has 
still been unable to recover his body.

In August security forces arrested some 3,000 persons in 
Qazvin, after army troops had quelled disturbances in that city 
(see Section 1.a.).  Credible reports indicated that many of 
the detainees were released only after they signed a false 
confession indicating they were members of the Mojahedin-e 
Khalq.

Adherents of the Baha'i faith continue to face arbitrary arrest 
and detention.  One Baha'i, Ramazan Ali Zolfaqari, was 
convicted of apostasy, imprisoned, and released on Janury 6.  
His conviction is still in effect.  As of August, about eight 
Baha'is were imprisoned because of their beliefs.  The 
Government appears to adhere to a practice of detaining a small 
number of Baha'is at any time.  Two Jews are believed to be in 
prison because of their religion, and a Christian leader named 
Beni Paul is also reportedly in detention.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Iran has two court systems:  the traditional court system,  
which adjudicates civil and criminal offenses; and the Islamic 
Revolutionary Courts, which were established in 1979 to try 
"political" offenses, narcotics crimes, and "crimes against 
God."  Many aspects of the prerevolutionary judicial system 
survive in the civil and criminal courts.  For example, 
defendants have the right to a public trial, may choose their 
own lawyer, and have the right of appeal.  Trials are 
adjudicated by panels of judges.  There is no jury system.  In 
the absense of post-revolution laws, the Government advises 
judges to base their decisions on Islamic law.  Moreover, these 
courts are not fully independent.  The revolutionary courts may 
consider cases normally in the jurisdiction of the civil and 
criminal courts and also may overturn their decisions.  
Assignment of cases to either system of courts appears to be 
haphazard.  The Supreme Court has limited authority to review 
cases.

Defendants tried in the revolutionary courts are not granted 
fair trials.  These defendants are often held in prolonged 
pretrial detention without access to attorneys, and their 
attorneys are rarely afforded sufficient time to prepare their 
defense.  Defendants are often indicted for such vague offenses 
as "moral corruption," "antirevolutionary behavior," and 
"siding with global arrogance."  Defendants do not have the 
right to confront their accusers or the right to appeal.  
Summary trials of 5 minutes are common and some trials are 
conducted in secret.  Others are show trials intended to 
highlight a coerced public confession.  Two highly publicized 
show trials occurred in 1994:  one for a person accused of 
bombing a religious shrine in Mashhad; the other for a person 
accused of bombing Ayatollah Khomeini's tomb near Tehran.  The 
Government accused the charged individuals with membership in 
the Mojahedin-e Khalq.  Rather than conduct a genuine 
investigation into the bombings, the Government linked them to 
the murders of the Evangelical Christian clerics (see Section 
1.a) and characterized all of these events as a Mojahedin plot.

In August the Majles approved a law reorganizing the court 
system.  Among its provisions, the law authorizes judges to act 
as prosecutor and judge in the same case.  The rights of 
defendents are further eroded by the fact that many judges 
retired after the revolution, and others were disbarred for 
ideological reasons.  The Government has replaced them with 
judges who are regarded as politically acceptable to the regime.

There are no available estimates on the number of political 
prisoners.  However, the Government often arrests persons on 
trumped-up criminal charges when their actual "offenses" are 
political.  In October the U.N. Special Representative issued a 
report which noted that he had requested the Government to 
provide information on 78 reported political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The Constitution states that "reputation, life, property, (and) 
dwelling(s)" are protected from trespass except as "provided by 
law."  However, security forces enter homes and offices, 
monitor telephone conversations, and open mail without court 
authorization.  The wife of writer Saidi-Sirjani reported that, 
after her husband's arrest in March, the Anti-Vice Department 
of the Revolutionary Prosecutor's office raided her home, 
seized her husband's papers, and sealed the library (see 
Section 1.a.).

Paramilitary volunteer forces known as the Basiji and other 
security forces monitor the social activities of citizens.  
Such organizations may harass or arrest women whose clothing 
does not cover the hair and all of the body except hands and 
face, or those who wear makeup.  Enforcement of such standards 
of public morality varies with the political climate and the 
jurisdiction.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for the freedom of the press, except 
when published ideas are "contrary to Islamic principles, or 
are detrimental to public rights."  In practice, the Government 
controls most publications.  Newspapers are generally 
associated with various factions in the Government.  They 
reflect different views and criticize the Government but are 
prohibited from criticizing the concept of the Islamic Republic 
or promoting the rights of ethnic minorities.

The Government may harass or shut down independent publishing 
houses that are overly critical of public policy.  Nonetheless, 
some independent publishers out of favor with the Government 
continue to survive.  In October a bimonthly newspaper, Asr-e 
Ma (Our Era), was launched by a former government minister.  It 
has called for the establishment of political parties.

Those whose comments offend the Government risk arrest and 
summary punishment.  In 1994 Azizollah Amir Rahimi, a former 
general, distributed open letters and gave interviews to the 
foreign media in which he called on President Rafsanjani to 
step down and organize free elections.  Rahimi and his son were 
reportedly detained on November 1 for his comments.  No 
information on the status of their cases was available at 
year's end.

In October 134 prominent writers distributed an open letter 
protesting excessive official censorship.  In response, 
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati delivered a sermon on November 11 in 
which he warned that Muslims might take some unspecified 
"action" against the writers.  The semiofficial Tehran Times 
cautioned against freedom of speech, editorializing that such 
freedom does not permit publication of "unsocial, immoral and 
seditious articles."

The Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance ensures that books 
do not contain offensive material prior to publication.  It 
inspects foreign printed materials prior to their release on 
the market.  However, some books and pamphlets critical of the 
Government are published without reprisal.

In March the Government reaffirmed as binding and irrevocable 
the 1989 religious decree condemning to death British author 
Salman Rushdie for his book, "The Satanic Verses."  The 
Government considers the book blasphemous.  It made no public 
move to repudiate its promise of a cash award to any person who 
kills Rushdie.

The Government owns all broadcasting facilities, and their 
programming reflects its political and socioreligious 
ideology.  In June officials reportedly seized 1,995 satellite 
receiving dishes and videotapes in the port of Bandar Abbas.  
The Majles passed a law in January 1995 banning the import and 
distribution of satellite dishes and calling for the removal of 
existing satellite dishes.  But the law had been declared 
unconstitutional by the Council of Guardians at press time, so 
its enforcement is uncertain.

Academic censorship persists, even though restrictions on 
academic freedom have eased since the immediate 
postrevolutionary period.  However, in May Supreme Leader 
Khamenei said in a speech at the Islamic Open University that 
the university's atmosphere "must be protected from the 
penetration of poisonous and anti-Islamic thoughts" and that 
the university's administration "is justified in preventing the 
expression of any remarks against Islamic and revolutionary 
values."

Government informers are said to be common on university 
campuses and monitor classroom material.  Admission to 
universities is politicized; all applicants must pass 
"character tests" in which officials screen out applicants 
critical of the Government's ideology.  To achieve tenure, 
professors reportedly must cooperate with government 
authorities over a period of years.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution permits assemblies and marches "provided they 
do not violate the principles of Islam."  Numerous unplanned 
demonstrations occurred throughout Iran in 1994 (see Section 
1.a.).

The Constitution also provides for the establishment of 
political parties, professional associations, and religious 
groups provided they do not violate the principles of "freedom, 
sovereignty, (and) national unity" or question Islam or the 
Islamic Republic.  In practice, most independent organizations 
are banned, co-opted by the Government, or moribund.

In February the Ministry of Interior granted licenses to some 
80 political and professional organizations out of an  
estimated 400 applications.  No major opposition faction was 
evident among the licensed groups.  Authorities continue to 
monitor the activities of the Freedom Movement, a political 
group founded in 1961 and declared illegal in 1991.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution declares that the "official religion of Iran 
is Islam and the sect followed is Ja'fari Shi'ism."  It also 
states that "other Islamic denominations shall enjoy complete 
respect."  Religion is almost inseparable from government.  The 
President and many top officials, including the Speaker of the 
Parliament and many parliamentary deputies, are mullahs 
(Islamic clergymen).

Approximately 90 percent of the population are Shi'a Muslims.  
Aside from slightly over 1 percent who are not Muslims, the 
rest of the population are Sunni Muslims who include Kurds, 
Arabs, Turkomans, Baluchis, and other ethnic minorities.

The Constitution recognizes Christianity, Judaism, and 
Zoroastrianism.  Members of these religions elect 
representatives to reserved Parliamentary seats.  They are free 
to practice their religion and instruct their children, but the 
Government interferes with the administration of their schools. 
Harassment by government officials is common (See Section 5).

Non-Muslims may not proselytize Muslims.  Three Evangelical 
Christian ministers were killed in 1994.  One, who had 
converted to Christianity in 1983, had been sentenced to death 
for apostasy in December 1993 and released in response to an 
international appeal (see Section 1.a.).

The Government regards the Baha'i community, the largest 
non-Muslim minority with 300,000 to 350,000 members, as a 
"misguided sect."  It prohibits Baha'is from teaching their 
faith and maintaining links with coreligionists abroad.

In October 1993, the Majles approved legislation that prohibits 
government workers from membership in groups that deny the 
"divine religions."  The Government uses such terminology to 
describe members of the Baha'i faith.  The law also stipulates 
penalties for government workers who do not observe "Islamic 
principles and rules."

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Citizens may travel to any part of Iran, although there have 
been travel restrictions to Kurdish areas during times of heavy 
fighting.  People may change their place of residence without 
obtaining official permission.  The Government requires exit 
permits for draft-age males and citizens who are politically 
suspect.  Some Iranians, particularly those whose skills are in 
short supply and who were educated at government expense, must 
post bonds to obtain exit permits.

The Government permits Iranian Jews to travel abroad, but often 
denies them the multiple-exit permits normally issued to other 
citizens.  The Government does not normally permit all members 
of a Jewish family to travel abroad at the same time.

The Government and the UNHCR estimate that there were 
approximately 1.7 million Afghan refugees in Iran in late 
1994.  The majority have been integrated into local society.  
Others live seminomadic lives or reside in government 
settlements.  The UNHCR repatriated more than 110,000 refugees 
to Afghanistan in 1994 and is supervising the repatriation of 
many more.  Tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurdish and Shi'a Muslim 
refugees, displaced by the aftermath of the Gulf War, remained 
in Iran in 1994.  The Government of Iran provided assistance to 
these refugees.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Iran is ruled by a group of religious leaders and their lay 
associates who share a belief in the legitimacy of a theocratic 
state based on Ayatollah Khomeini's interpretation of Shi'a 
Islam.  There is no separation of state and religion.  The 
clerics dominate all branches of government completely.  The 
Government represses any movement seeking to separate state and 
religion, or to alter the State's existing theocratic 
foundation.  The selection of candidates is effectively 
controlled by the ruling clerics, consequently depriving 
citizens of the right to change their government.

Regularly scheduled elections are held for the President, 
members of Parliament (the Majles), and members of the Assembly 
of Experts, a body responsible for selecting the successor to 
the Leader of the Revolution.  The Majles exercises a 
considerable amount of independence from the executive branch, 
but its decisions are reviewed by the Council of Guardians (see 
below).  Vigorous parliamentary debates take place on various 
issues, and in some cases the Majles has defeated laws proposed 
by the executive branch.  Most deputies are associated with 
powerful political and religious officials, but often vote 
independently and shift from one faction to another.

The Constitution provides for a Council of Guardians composed 
of six Islamic clergymen, and six lay members who review all 
laws for consistency with Islamic law and the Constitution.  
The Council also screens political candidates for ideological 
and religious suitability.  It accepts only candidates who 
support a theocratic state, but clerics who disagree with 
government policies have also been disqualified.

Women are underrepresented in government.  They hold 9 out of 
270 Majles seats, and there are no female Cabinet members.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

The Government represses local human rights groups and in 
general is uncooperative with foreign groups.  The Government 
continued to refuse in 1994 the repeated requests by the U.N. 
Special Representative to visit Iran.

In November 1994, the Government hosted a German-Iranian Human 
Rights Seminar in Tehran.  It permitted the German participants 
to visit a prison in Esfahan, and permitted a second visit by 
journalists to Evin prison in Tehran.  The Government also has 
established a human rights committee in the Majlis and a human 
rights commission in the judiciary, but observers believe they 
lack independence.  Government officials state repeatedly that 
Iran should be judged by Islamic, rather than Western, human 
rights principles.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

     Women

Discrimination against women has increased since the 
revolution.  On January 31, Mina Kalout was reportedly stoned 
to death in Evin Prison.  Kalout, a married woman, was accused 
of committing adultery with her cousin, Abdol-Hussein, who was 
executed for the offense.  On February 22, Homa Darabi, a 
pediatrician, reportedly immolated herself to protest the 
Government's discriminatory policies.  Prior to her death, 
Darabi had been dismissed from an academic position for failing 
to adhere strictly to the Islamic dress code.  On March 2, 
Tahereh Ghan'e, a married woman with children, was reportedly 
stoned to death in Qom for alleged adultery.  On May 5, a 
female student of medicine and women's activist at Beheshti 
University was found strangled to death.  Her arm had been 
broken, as well.  Although the Government claimed the student 
had committed suicide, 1,000 female students staged a sit-in on 
May 9 to protest what they believed to be her murder.

Although domestic violence is known to occur, little is known 
about its extent.  Abuse in the family is considered a private 
matter and seldom discussed publicly.  There are no official 
statistics on the subject.

In general, women suffer discrimination in the legal code, 
particularly in family and property matters.  It is difficult 
for many women, particularly those residing outside large 
cities, to obtain any legal redress.  Although women may be 
educated and employed in the professions, social constraints 
tend to inhibit their educational and economic opportunities.  
Illiteracy and the lack of university degrees also affect their 
standing.  The enforcement of conservative Islamic dress codes 
has varied considerably since the death of Ayatollah Khomeini 
in 1989.  Nonetheless, such dress codes persist and are 
enforced arbitrarily.

Under legislation passed in 1983, women have the right to 
divorce, and regulations promulgated in 1984 substantially 
broadened the grounds on which a woman may seek a divorce.  
However, a husband is not required to cite a reason for 
divorcing his wife.  In 1986 the Majles passed a 12-article law 
on marriage and divorce that limited the privileges accorded to 
men by custom and traditional interpretations of Islamic law.  
The 1986 law also recognized divorced women's rights to a share 
of the property couples aquire during their marriage and 
increased alimony rights.

The Government's views on women's rights were exemplified in 
1994 by an open letter to the U.N. Special Representative from 
the President's Special Advisor on Women's Affairs, Shailia 
Habibi.  In the letter, Habibi explained that legal 
restrictions on a women's freedom to travel--a woman needs 
permission from a close male relative to obtain a passport--are 
"consensual" because such restrictions "are designed to 
preserve the unity and sanctity of the family."  She also 
accused "Western emancipation" of causing "corruption, 
prostitution, Lesbianism, and widespread venereal disease."

     Children

There is no known pattern of child abuse.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The Kurds seek greater autonomy and continue to suffer 
government prosecution.  In August the Government reportedly 
razed 17 Kurdish villages.

     Religious Minorities

The Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Baha'i minorities 
suffer varying degrees of officially sanctioned discrimination, 
particularly in the areas of employment, education, and public 
accommodations.  Muslims who convert to Christianity also 
suffer discrimination.

University applicants are required to pass an examination in 
Islamic theology.  Although public-school students receive 
instruction in Islam, this requirement limits access of most 
religious minorities to higher education.  Applicants for 
public-sector employment are similarly screened for their 
adherence to Islam.

Religious minorities suffer discrimination in the legal system, 
receiving lower awards in injury and death lawsuits, and 
incurring heavier punishments than Muslims.  Sunni Muslims 
encounter religious discrimination at the local level.

In 1993 the U.N. Special Representative reported the existence 
of a government policy directive on the Baha'is.  According to 
the directive, the Supreme Revolutionary Council reportedly 
instructed government agencies to block the progress and 
development of the Baha'i community; expel Baha'i students from 
universities; cut the Baha'is' links with groups outside Iran; 
restrict the employment of Baha'is; and deny Baha'is "positions 
of influence," including those in education.  The Government 
claims the directive is a forgery.  However, it appears to be 
an accurate reflection of current government practice.

The persecution of Baha'is persisted unevenly in 1994.  The 
Government continued to return some property previously 
confiscated from individual Baha'is, although the amount 
returned is a fraction of the total seized.  Property belonging 
to the Baha'i community as a whole, such as places of worship, 
remains confiscated.  Other government restrictions have been 
eased, so that Baha'is may currently obtain food ration 
booklets and send their children to public schools.  However, 
the prohibition against the admission of Baha'is to 
universities appears to be enforced.  Thousands of Baha'is 
dismissed from government jobs in the early 1980's receive no 
unemployment benefits and have been required to repay the 
Government for salaries or pensions received from the first day 
of employment.  Those unable to do so face prison sentences.

     People with Disabilities

There is no available information regarding whether the 
Government has legislated or otherwise mandated accessibility 
for the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Although the Labor Code grants workers the right to establish 
unions, there are no independent unions.  A national 
organization known as the Worker's House, founded in 1982, is 
the sole authorized national labor organization.  It serves 
primarily as a conduit for government control.  The leadership 
of the Worker's House coordinates activities with Islamic labor 
councils which are organized in many enterprises.  These 
councils also function as instruments of government control, 
although they have frequently been able to block layoffs and 
dismissals.  Moreover, a network of government-backed guilds 
issues vocational licenses, funds financial cooperatives, and 
helps workers find jobs.

The Government does not tolerate any strike deemed to be at 
odds with its economic and labor policies.  In 1993 the 
Parliament passed a law which prohibits strikes by government 
workers.  It also prohibits government workers from having 
contacts with foreigners and stipulates penalties for failure 
to observe Islamic dress codes and principles at work.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Workers do not have the right to organize independently and 
negotiate collective bargaining agreements.  It is not known 
whether labor legislation and practice in the export processing 
zones differ from the law and practice in the rest of the 
country.  No information is available on mechanisms used to set 
wages.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Section 273 of the Penal Code provides that the Government may 
require any person who does not have work to take suitable 
employment.  This provision has been criticized frequently by 
the International Labor Organization (ILO) as contravening ILO 
Convention 29 on forced labor.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The labor law prohibits employment of minors under 15 years of 
age and places special restrictions on the employment of minors 
under 18.  Education is compulsory until age 11.  The law 
exempts workers in agriculture, domestic service, and some 
small businesses.  By law, women and minors may not be employed 
in hard labor or, in general, night work.  Information on the 
extent to which these regulations are enforced is not available.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The Labor Code empowers the Supreme Labor Council to establish 
annual minimum wage levels for each industrial sector and 
region.  It is not known if the minimum wages are adjusted 
annually or enforced.  The Labor Code stipulates that the 
minimum wage should be sufficient to meet the living expenses 
of a family and should take inflation into account.  
Information on the share of the working population covered by 
the minimum wage legislation is not available.

The Labor Code establishes a 6-day workweek of 48 hours 
maximum, with one weekly rest day, normally Fridays, and at 
least 12 leave days of paid annual leave and several paid 
public holidays.

According to the Labor Code, a Supreme Safety Council, chaired 
by the Labor Minister or his representative, is responsible for 
promoting workplace safety and health.  The Council has 
reportedly issued 28 safety directives and oversees the 
activities of 3,000 safety committees established in 
enterprises employing more than 10 persons.  It is not known 
how well the ministry's inspectors enforce regulations.(###)


[end of document]

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