Canada expels Iran’s former deputy interior minister

By Stewart Bell  Global News, Posted March 20, 2024 3:17 pm

Canada’s immigration tribunal ordered the deportation Wednesday of Iran’s former deputy interior minister.

Seyed Salman Samani is the second senior member of the Iranian regime to face removal from Canada under sanctions adopted in 2022.

The Immigration and Refugee Board decision followed a deportation order issued Feb. 2 against Majid Iranmanesh, a technology advisor to Iran’s vice-president.

A third alleged top Iranian official caught in Canada has also been sent for removal proceedings.

In that case, however, the IRB has refused to identify him, and has opted to hold his hearings behind closed doors, apparently because he is claiming to be a refugee.

Global News applied to make the proceedings open to the public, but the IRB denied the request in a ruling Tuesday that did not explain why it felt banning the press from the case was justified.

Seyed Salman Samani, when he was spokesperson for Iran’s Ministry of Interior.
Seyed Salman Samani, when he was spokesperson for Iran’s Ministry of Interior.

Another nine suspected senior Iranian officials are similarly being brought before the refugee board for deportation hearings.

All are living in Canada but are being expelled after Iran’s morality police detained and killed Mahsa Amini for showing her hair in public.

Her death set off protests that were brutally crushed by Iranian security forces.

Canada responded by designating Iran as a regime engaged in “terrorism and systematic and gross human rights violations.”

The policy effectively barred tens of thousands of Iranian officials and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp members from Canada.

The IRB ordered the deportation of Seyed Salman Samani on Wednesday.
The IRB ordered the deportation of Seyed Salman Samani on Wednesday. Immigration and Refugee Board

Iranian Canadians have long complained that regime officials are entering Canada, and sometimes providing support to Tehran.

In a social media post on Feb. 21, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said the government had refused the permanent residency application of Eshagh Ghalibaf.

Court documents show that Eshagh Ghalibaf had applied to immigrate to Canada.

His father, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, is Iran’s parliamentary speaker and a former senior commander in the Revolutionary Guard.

Passport of Eshagh Ghalibaf, who tried to immigrate to Canada.
Passport of Eshagh Ghalibaf, who tried to immigrate to Canada. Federal Court

Samani, 43, entered Canada using a visitor visa issued in Ankara, Turkey. But after he arrived, he faced questions about his past role in the regime, which he quit in August 2021.

At his hearing in February, he said he was unaware his boss, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, had ordered police to kill protesters in 2019.

He denied any involvement in human rights abuses, and insisted he was not aware the Iranian regime was engaged in arbitrary arrest, torture and killings.

But immigration enforcement officials argued Samani held three “critical positions” in the Interior Ministry.

As the ministry spokesperson, he played a role in defending the regime over the role of its security forces in the deaths of 1,500 protesters, the officials argued.

“As a spokesperson, Mr. Samani would have served as a conduit for state propaganda, responsible for disseminating information that aligned with the government narrative and suppressing any dissenting views,” they said.

On Wednesday, IRB Member Kirk Dickenson upheld the government’s case, ruling Samani exercised “significant influence on the government or Iran,” and was therefore inadmissible to Canada.

The date of his removal was not disclosed.

The Canada Border Services Agency said 86 investigations had been launched into suspected senior Iranian regime members living in Canada.

Forty investigations had been closed because the individuals in question were either not in Canada or were not deemed to be senior Iranian officials.

So far the CBSA has identified a dozen “well-founded” cases of senior regime members, but only three have been sent to the IRB to date.

Eighty-two visas were also cancelled by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada under the sanctions. The figures are as of Feb. 16, 2024.

Romania Iran Protest
Woman holds image of Mahsa Amini during a protest outside the Iranian embassy in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Vadim Ghirda/AP

But figures also show the government is struggling to deport those who have been found inadmissible to Canada on national security grounds.

Since 2018, the CBSA has issued 675 reports alleging foreign nationals should be deported for reasons of national security. But during that same time, only 44 were removed from the country.

That is less than seven per cent.

So far in 2024, the CBSA has prepared 33 inadmissibility reports for national security, but has conducted only a single removal, according to the figures.

Map of Iran, with capital, Tehran. (AP Photo)
Map of Iran, with capital, Tehran. (AP Photo).

Canada broke off diplomatic relations with Iran 12 years ago, citing the regime’s rights abuses, nuclear program and support for international terrorism.

Iran’s IRGC Quds Force finances, trains and arms groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, which conducted the Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 Israelis.

The IRGC also shot down a passenger plane in 2020, killing 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents in what the courts have ruled was an act of terrorism.

Iran is also considered one of the hostile foreign governments, along with Russia and China, that engage in foreign interference in Canada.

Recruiting Afghan Migrant Children In Wars By Iran

In The “Moj” Program On Amu TV, Parastoo Azizi (Director Of The Spreading Justice) And Sharif Ghalib, Former Advisor To The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of Afghanistan, Discussed And Analyzed The Improper Use Of Children In Wars. A New Report By Human Rights Activists Reveals Iran’s Involvement In Recruiting And Using Child Soldiers, Especially Afghan Citizens, In The Fatemiyoun Division. This Research, A Collaboration Between Spreading Justice, The PDP Initiative, And HRANA, Aims To Expose Violations Of International Laws And Children’s Rights.

در برنامه موج از شبکه آمو، پرستو عزیزی (مدیر پایگاه اطلاعاتی دادگستر) و شریف غالب، مشاور سابق وزارت خارجه افغانستان به بحث و بررسی پیرامون استفاده ناروا از کودکان در جنگ‌ها پرداختند. گزارشی جدید مجموعه فعالان نشان دهنده دخالت ایران در جذب و استفاده از کودک سربازان، به ویژه شهروندان افغانستان در تیپ فاطمیون است. این تحقیق که حاصل کار دادگستر، ابتکار پاسداران و هرانا است، افشای نقض قوانین بین‌المللی و حقوق کودکان را هدف قرار داده.

HRA Unveils Groundbreaking Report on Iran’s Use of Child Soldiers in Armed Conflicts

In a groundbreaking publication today, Human Rights Activists (HRA) has released an extensive report detailing Iran’s longstanding practice of recruiting the economically disadvantaged segments of society, including asylum seekers, immigrants, and using child soldiers in armed conflicts. The report particularly spotlights the exploitation of Afghan minors within the Fatemiyoun Division. This comprehensive investigation sheds light on a series of violations of international humanitarian law and international children’s rights, revealing the depth of Iran’s involvement in the recruitment, training, and deployment of children in combat zones.

The primary focus of this report, prepared by Spreading Justice (a database of human rights violators), the Pasdaran Documentation Initiative, and the HRANA news agency, is on the use of children—specifically individuals under 18 years of age—in war zones, who are predominantly of Afghan nationality and, to a lesser extent, Pakistani.

Click here to download the full report

Unmasking the Exploitation of Vulnerable Populations: The primary aim of this report is to unmask the systematic exploitation of vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on Afghan immigrants and minors, by Iran’s military and paramilitary forces. Through detailed accounts, testimonies, and evidence, HRA endeavors to bring to the forefront the realities of these practices that have long been shrouded in secrecy and obfuscation.

Promoting Transparency and Accountability: This report also aims to encourage transparency and accountability regarding the recruitment and use of child soldiers. By conducting a thorough analysis of Iran’s recruitment networks, training centers, and the roles played by various institutions and commanders, HRA seeks to ensure that those responsible for these violations are held accountable.

Encouraging International Action and Dialogue: This report aims to spur international action and dialogue on the urgent issue of child soldiers. It calls for a united global effort to address and mitigate the factors driving the recruitment of child soldiers, advocating for policy reforms and the implementation of protective measures in line with the principles of international humanitarian law and children’s rights.

Through this report, HRA not only highlights the grave injustices experienced by child soldiers but also provides a roadmap for change, urging all stakeholders to commit to protecting the most vulnerable in conflict zones.

HRA’s report is a comprehensive analysis that exposes Iran’s systematic recruitment and exploitation of child soldiers, particularly focusing on the use of Afghan minors within the ranks of the Fatemiyoun Division, a paramilitary group fighting in Syria under the auspices of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This investigation is the result of meticulous research, including interviews with former child soldiers, analysis of recruitment tactics, and examination of the training and deployment processes.

Systematic Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers: The report exposes Iran’s long-standing practice of systematically recruiting child soldiers, a practice dating back to the Iran-Iraq War and persisting through its involvement in the Syrian conflict. It details how Iran targets vulnerable populations, particularly Afghan refugees and immigrants, many of whom are minors, coercing them into military service with promises of financial rewards or legal residency.

Violation of International Laws and Conventions: The HRA’s findings reveal Iran’s egregious violations of international law, encompassing both International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. Despite its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which prohibits the use of children under 15 in hostilities, Iran has been documented recruiting children as young as 14. This flagrant disregard for international norms extends to Iran’s failure to adhere to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on child soldiers and Customary International Law. These actions highlight Iran’s blatant disregard for its international commitments and the urgent need for accountability.

Inadequate Training and Preparation: The investigation details the insufficient and hastily conducted training provided to these child soldiers and other recruits, often lasting only three to four weeks. The training primarily focuses on combat tactics rather than imparting a comprehensive understanding of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). This lack of proper training not only exposes these children to immense danger on the battlefield but also contravenes the principles of IHL, which Iran is obligated to teach its armed forces.

Exploitation and Coercion: The report exposes the exploitation and coercion inherent in Iran’s recruitment practices. Testimonies from former child soldiers and other former members reveal a troubling pattern of manipulation, where minors and individuals in precarious visa situations are coerced into combat roles under threats of violence or death. Promises of financial compensation and legal status made to them are consistently broken.

High Casualty Rates and Lack of Support: One of the most harrowing findings is the disproportionately high casualty rates among the Fatemiyoun Division’s child soldiers. Testimonies and data point to instances where a significant amount of child soldiers were deployed in combat operations with minimal support, resulting in significant loss of life and injury. Furthermore, the report criticizes the lack of adequate support for injured child soldiers and the families of those killed in action, highlighting a neglectful and dismissive attitude by the IRGC towards these individuals upon their return from Syria.

Call to Action: In light of these findings, the report urges immediate action from the international community, including the implementation of targeted human rights sanctions for human rights abusers, support from international organizations and non-governmental organizations working on the ground to protect vulnerable populations from recruitment. Emphasizing Iran’s duty to uphold international standards, the report urges Iran to immediately halt its recruitment of child soldiers and to initiate comprehensive measures for the rehabilitation and support of those already impacted by such egregious practices.

The report by HRA is not just a condemnation of Iran’s actions but a plea to safeguard the rights and well-being of children caught in conflicts. By shedding light on these issues, HRA seeks to catalyze global efforts to ensure that no child is coerced into bearing arms and that those who have suffered receive the support needed to rebuild their lives.

HRA report on the recruitment and use of child soldiers by Iran represents a significant accomplishment, prepared despite considerable security and information challenges. Conducting research in a context where access to reliable data is heavily restricted, and where subjects of investigation face significant risks, required innovative approaches and steadfast determination. The organization’s commitment to uncovering the truth led to the deployment of undercover investigations, extensive interviews with survivors, and collaboration with a network of local activists, all undertaken while ensuring the safety and anonymity of those involved.

The international community cannot afford to overlook the findings of this report. The documented violations have profound implications for global peace, security, and human rights. Addressing the use of child soldiers requires a concerted effort from nations worldwide to:

HRA urges all concerned individuals, organizations, and government entities to engage with this critical issue by reviewing the full report. By understanding the depth and severity of the violations against children in armed conflicts, collective work can be done to safeguard the rights of the vulnerable.

To access the comprehensive report and learn more about the findings and recommendations, please download the full PDF version by clicking on the image below. HRA encourages readers to contact us with any questions, insights, or support for our ongoing efforts to protect human rights worldwide.

The active involvement and support of individuals are instrumental in addressing the use of child soldiers and upholding human rights globally. Collaboratively, efforts aim to contribute to positive change, fostering a safer, more just world for future generations.

HRA welcomes FFMI findings of Gender Persecution in Iran

HRA welcomes the findings presented by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFMI) regarding serious human rights violations and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the civilian population, particularly women and girls, during the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests.

In particular, HRA welcomes the FFMI’s recognition of the crime against humanity of gender persecution. 

Download the full report

In December 2023, HRA with our partner, UpRights, submitted evidence and legal analysis on the crime against humanity of gender and political persecution urging the mission to recognize the commission of such crimes. 

The protests, sparked by the tragic death of Mahsa Zhina Amini in detention, were met with brutal force, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives and leaving numerous individuals with irreversible injuries. The disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by security forces against peaceful demonstrators represents a blatant disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Iranian people.

The documented violations, including extra-judicial killings, torture, rape, enforced disappearances, and gender persecution, underscore the urgent need for accountability and justice for the victims and survivors.

The comprehensive report by the FFMI emphasizes the the need for immediate action to address the systemic impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of human rights violations in Iran and crimes under International law. 

The government’s systematic denial of due process and fair trial, coupled with its continued repression of dissent and denial of basic rights, perpetuates a culture of impunity for violations dating back decades. 

HRA’s Spreading Justice Initiative (SJ) welcomes the FFMI’s dedication to documenting those responsible and conducting investigations into the identities of the direct perpetrators who committed, ordered, solicited, or induced the commission of violations. SJ believes this type of investigation is crucial.

HRA further welcomes the discussion on avenues for accountability outside the Islamic Republic of Iran and encourages Member States to explore avenues for international and domestic accountability as recommended in the report. 

Skylar Thompson, Director of Advocacy and Accountability, when speaking about the findings today, said “Recognizing crimes against humanity that have been committed paves a real path forward, opening the door to additional domestic and international accountability mechanisms. It also assures that victims know they are seen and heard. A failure to to recognize the gravity of crimes perpetrated by Iranian authorities in the context of the protests would have been a grave failure for the very women and girls who have suffered for so long. Instead, these findings offer a glimmer of hope. Now, it is absolutely essential that Member States ensure the mandate is extended alongside the Special Rapporteur.”

HRA looks forward to engaging with Member States, partners, and the FFMI throughout the session.

The State of Women’s Rights in Iran: Institutional and Individual Violations

The state of women’s rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran is a critical concern, marked by systemic and pervasive violations deeply rooted in both the legal and societal frameworks. This report seeks to unpack the complex landscape of gender-based discrimination, highlighting the institutional and individual practices that significantly undermine the autonomy, dignity, and freedoms of Iranian women. At the heart of these violations lies a legal system marred by gender inequality, with laws that span from the constitutional to the civil and penal codes, all of which collectively disadvantage women in critical areas of life such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and parental rights.

Further extending its scope which published by Spreading Justice, this investigation not only examines the legal codifications but also ventures into the public domain, where regulations on modesty, public conduct, and the mandatory hijab further restrict women’s rights. By exposing the specific roles and actions of key actors within the judiciary, law enforcement, and legislative arenas, this report aims to shed light on the systemic entrenchment of gender disparities. Through detailed analysis and case studies, it underscores the urgency of addressing these profound inequities.

The Judiciary Fails to Guarantee Women’s Rights

In the intricate landscape of Iran’s human rights challenges, the judiciary plays a pivotal role, oscillating between neglect and active suppression of women’s rights. This dynamic is glaringly apparent in the treatment of female prisoners, journalists, activists, and those defying the mandatory hijab regulations. Through both action and inaction, the judiciary not only deepens the suffering of these individuals but also signals a systemic incapacity to safeguard fundamental freedoms.

The Revolutionary Court of Rasht’s recent trial initiation against twelve women’s rights advocates is a testament to this ongoing repression. On February 29, 2024, the court began proceedings against Forough Saminia, Sara Jahani, Zahra Dadras, Yasamin Hashdari, Shiva Shah Sia, Negin Rezaie, Vahedeh Khoshsirat, Azadeh Chavoshian, Zohreh Dadras, Matin Yazdani, Hooman Taheri, and Jelveh Javaheri. Charged with “membership in a group, assembly, and collusion to act against national security” and similar accusations, these individuals’ experiences reflect the broader pattern of targeting activists to quell dissent. Their arrest during a mass detainment in Gilan Province and subsequent conditional release from Lakan Prison in Rasht underline the systematic approach to intimidating and silencing voices advocating for gender equality and human rights.

The case of Roya Heshmati, penalized for her protest against the compulsory hijab with seventy-four lashes, is a harrowing example of the judiciary’s overreach. This incident, dated January 3, 2024, is a grim marker of the severe penalties imposed for perceived non-compliance with state mandates, reflecting a profound disregard for human dignity and freedom. In a text circulating social media, Roya Heshmati recalls the harrowing ordeal, “The judge said not to hit too hard. The man began to hit. My shoulders. My upper arms. My back. My buttocks. My thighs. My calves. Again, from the beginning. I didn’t count the number of strikes. Under my breath, I was chanting for the name of woman, for the name of life, the garment of servitude was torn, our dark night shall turn into dawn, all the whips shall turn into axes.”

Adding to this narrative of repression is the collective sentencing of Maryam Bani-Razi Motlagh, Abdolbagher Amani, Reza Rashidi, and Mohammadreza Rostami by Branch 116 of the Criminal Court in Qom. Their conviction to over 17 months in prison, 148 lashes, and additional penalties for not adhering to the “mandatory hijab” and allegedly hindering the state’s moral policing further exemplifies the judiciary’s stringent enforcement of conservative norms. Presided over by Judge Hossein Soltani, these sentences manifest the judiciary’s commitment to maintaining strict social control through corporal punishment and incarceration, actions that clearly violate international human rights norms.

This oppressive environment extends to the realm of journalism, where female journalists are increasingly targeted, pressured, and arrested. Among them, Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, sentenced by infamous Judge Salavati to 13 and 12 years respectively, and Vida Rabani, who received a 6-year and 15-month sentence from Judge Iman Afshari, showcase the severe repercussions for their reporting. Additionally, Saba Azarpeik faced a sentence of 2 years in prison and a 2-year ban from social media activities. The cases of Saeedeh Shafiee and Nasim Soltanbeigi further illuminate the judiciary’s harsh stance, as both were sentenced by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, led by Judge Iman Afshari, to four years and three months in prison. Their sentences included charges of “propaganda against the system” and “assembly and collusion,” with additional restrictions on their freedom to engage in political and social groups and to travel abroad. These instances reflect a broader pattern of the judiciary targeting female journalists, intending to suppress dissent and control the flow of information within Iran.

The above examples highlight the judiciary’s complicity in fostering a climate of fear and repression, particularly against women challenging compulsory hijab laws and advocating for broader freedoms. The actions of judges like Iman Afshari, Abolqasem Salavati, Hossein Soltani, and others, who have imposed heavy sentences on female journalists, activists, and protestors, actively suppress dissent, limit freedom of expression, and encroach on civil liberties, reflecting a pattern of judicial conduct in Iran marked by indifference to prison abuses and a concerted crackdown on female dissent. This underscores a disturbing erosion of basic human rights and freedoms, highlighting a clear contradiction with the Executive Regulations of the Prisons Organization.

List of violators related to this section:

▪️Abolqasem Salavati:the head of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran
▪️Iman Afshari:head of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran
▪️Hossein Soltani:The head of the 116th branch of the criminal court NO.2 of Qom
▪️Mohammad-Reza Amouzad:the head and judge of 28th Branch of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Court

Violation of Women’s Rights within Iranian Prisons

1- Deplorable Conditions in Women’s Prisons

One illustration of the erosion of women’s rights in Iran is the conditions within the women’s prisons. Officials at the Amol prison have obstructed the delivery of many donated books to inmates, depriving them of educational and recreational resources. This situation is exacerbated by lacking amenities like libraries and entertainment facilities, such as movie players, which have not been made available to the inmates despite donations and repeated requests. This deprivation seems to stem from the behavior of prison officials and actions contrary to the directives of the Prison Organization.

2-Physical Abuse and Medical Neglect

The experience of female political prisoners in Iran paints a distressing picture of widespread abuse and neglect. Instances like that of Narges Mohammadi, who was reportedly assaulted by an official at Evin Prison‘s infirmary in September 2023 for not wearing the mandatory hijab, are not isolated. Such incidents reveal the harsh realities faced by women behind bars, especially those imprisoned for their political beliefs. Mohammadi’s ordeal began simply because she was assisting a sick fellow inmate, yet it escalated into a physical confrontation over her non-compliance with the hijab rule, as reported by HRANA. This is emblematic of the broader challenges and risks women encounter in Iran’s prisons, where adherence to strict dress codes is enforced with little regard for personal dignity or safety.

Similarly, a year prior, in the women’s ward of the Kermanshah Rehabilitation Center, the situation was no less grim. Prisoners, including Ms. Soheila Hijab, endured severe beatings at the hands of prison guards. Beyond physical abuse, these women often face medical neglect, exacerbating health complications that arise during their detention or because of prolonged incarceration. This neglect starkly violates basic human rights, underscoring a systemic disregard for the welfare of female prisoners.

Such incidents are indicative of the broader issues within Iranian penal institutions, particularly in the treatment of political detainees and the rigid enforcement of dress codes. They also highlight the ongoing struggle against compulsory hijab laws, reflecting the broader societal challenges women face, including those incarcerated, in resisting oppressive mandates.

3- Punitive Measures Against Protesting Inmates

Female prisoners, especially those who dare to protest the inhumane conditions, face punitive measures. These include but are not limited to, solitary confinement, false allegations resulting in new cases, denial of family visits, and even exile to other prisons. For example, following protests in Evin Prison, restrictions on a group of people, have been imposed, severely limiting prisoners involved the rights to make phone calls or receive family visits.

4- An increasing number of executions including of female prisoners

According To the Annual Report of Human Rights Activists (HRA), In 2023, at least 20 women were executed in Iran. One of the cases that caught media attention was the execution of Samira Sabzian Fard. Samira, a woman whose entire life was marred by the inexcusable discrimination faced simply for being a woman in Iran was a victim of child marriage, and domestic brutality, and ultimately, she was sentenced to death, and her life was taken by the state.

5- Transgender and Queer Women’s Experiences in Prison

Transgender women often experience segregation in prisons and despite legally changing their identification to align with their gender identity, transgender women face unique challenges and discrimination within the prison system. Additionally, queer women are scrutinized and stigmatized because of their sexuality. The experiences of transgender and queer women in facilities such as Qarchak and Lakan women’s wards highlight the urgent need for prison reforms to address these injustices and ensure the protection of all inmates’ rights, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. These practices not only violate the principles of dignity and equality enshrined in international human rights treaties but also highlight the critical gaps in protection and respect for LGBTQ+ rights within the Iranian judicial and penal systems.

List of violators related to this section:

▪️ State prison and security and corrective measures organization
▪️ Allah Karam Azizi:
the current head of Ghezel Hesar prison.
▪️ Edris Abdi: the current head of Kermanshah Juvenile Detention center
▪️ Hedayat Farzadi:the current head of Evin Prison
▪️ Soghra Khodadai:the head of Qarchak prison
▪️ Mahmoud Torabi:
The head of Rasht Central Prison (Lakan Prison)

Legislation Affecting Women’s Rights

Recent legislation in Iran, ostensibly designed to boost the country’s population, cast a long shadow over the rights and autonomy of women. At the heart of these measures is a draft revision of the Penal Code that significantly escalates the penalties associated with abortion, revealing a concerted effort by the government to exert control over women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. This proposed legislation not only seeks to criminalize abortion under a broader range of circumstances but also extends its punitive reach to encompass a wide array of individuals and activities related to the provision of abortion services.

Under the new draft Penal Code, the act of performing an abortion, facilitating the process, or even disseminating information about how to obtain one could result in severe legal consequences. Healthcare professionals, including doctors, midwives, and pharmacists, who are found to assist in the abortion process, could face not only imprisonment but also the revocation of their professional licenses. This aspect of the legislation places a significant burden on medical practitioners, forcing them to navigate the perilous waters between upholding their ethical obligations to provide care and avoiding legal prosecution.

Moreover, the legislation introduces penalties for those who engage in the dissemination of abortion information, targeting educators, activists, and possibly even individuals who share such information in private communications. This move effectively seeks to erase abortion from the public discourse, stifling debate and denying women access to critical information about their reproductive health options.

The implications of this legislative push are profound. By criminalizing abortion and penalizing those who support women’s reproductive choices, the government is not only infringing on women’s rights to make decisions about their bodies but also potentially endangering their health. Women seeking to avoid legal repercussions may turn to unsafe methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies, increasing the risk of complications, injury, or death.

Furthermore, this legislative approach reflects a broader attempt to control and dictate the terms of women’s existence and roles within society, reinforcing traditional gender norms and expectations. It disregards the complex realities of women’s lives, their health, socio-economic conditions, and their right to choose whether and when to have children.

The draft Penal Code’s severe restrictions on abortion in Iran implicate a wide array of governmental bodies and officials in the systemic violation of women’s rights, spanning from the legislative branches responsible for drafting and passing such repressive laws to the judiciary that enforces them through punitive measures against women and healthcare providers.

Lawmakers and legislators are directly accountable for creating laws that infringe on women’s autonomy, while judges and the judiciary uphold these laws, effectively sanctioning the suppression of women’s reproductive rights. The executive branch, including various government officials and policymakers, oversees the implementation and enforcement of these restrictions, further embedding the control over women’s bodies within the state’s legal and social fabric. Law enforcement agencies are the operational arms that execute these policies, arresting and detaining those who seek or provide abortions. Additionally, healthcare regulatory bodies exert control by penalizing medical professionals involved in abortion care, thereby restricting access to safe medical procedures. Together, these entities form a comprehensive network of control that not only restricts women’s rights to make decisions regarding their bodies but also places them at greater risk, underscoring a deep-seated violation of human rights and dignity within the framework of Iranian law and governance.

List of violators related to this section:

▪️ Amir-Hossein Bankipour Fard:the representative of the people of Isfahan in the 11th Islamic Consultative
▪️ Zohre Elahian:the representative of the people of Tehran in the 11th Islamic Consultative
▪️ Hossein Mirzaei:the representative of the people of Isfahan in the 11th Islamic Consultative

Violation of Women’s Rights by the Police and IRGC

The Morality Police, alongside the police forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), tasked with upholding Islamic dress codes and moral standards, have employed measures that often escalate into rights violations, including harassment, arbitrary detention, and physical abuse against women.

A notable example of this enforcement is the action taken by Hojjatollah Salari, the commander of the Seyyed al-Shohada IRGC of Hormuz. On May 3, 2023, Salar announced the confiscation of 20 electric motorcycles due to hijab violations as part of the chastity and hijab plan. This operation, aimed at addressing what was described as “the unveiling of drivers and passengers,” underscores the lengths to which the IRGC will go to enforce dress code violations, extending its reach to the confiscation of personal property.

Further exemplifying the aggressive stance on dress code enforcement, the IRGC of Hormuz Island, under Salar’s command, initiated the “Hijab and Chastity” exercise on May 8, 2023. This exercise, conducted in collaboration with local religious and Basij resistance bases, was explicitly designed to combat perceived instances of “improper hijab,” highlighting the comprehensive nature of these campaigns to regulate women’s attire and behavior in public spaces.

The repercussions of these enforcement actions were further amplified on December 24, 2023, when the a security order led to the arrest of 90 people and the issuance of verbal warnings to 380 women for “unveiling” on the beaches of Hormuz Island. The operation also resulted in confiscating personal items and sealing commercial units, illustrating the extensive measures employed to enforce moral codes.

List of violators related to this section:

▪️Moral Security Police 
▪️Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) 

Violations Against LGBTQ+ Individuals

The rights of transgender individuals in Iran face severe compromises, as evidenced by reported incidents that highlight the broader pattern of human rights abuses against the LGBTQ+ community. There have been reports of coerced confessions, where individuals are pressured into admitting guilt or making statements against their will, as example Suspicious Telegram channels such as Saberian News published forced confessions of Transgender arrestees, SJ is investigating such channels close to the security apparatus. Such practices, often carried out under duress, undermine the justice system’s integrity, and blatantly violate the rights of those involved, casting a long shadow over their dignity, and exposing them to unwarranted public scrutiny and further discrimination.

Interactions with Morality Police frequently lead to the arrest or violent confrontations for transgender individuals, targeted for their appearance or identity in the enforcement of strict moral and dress codes. This aggressive oversight not only infringes upon their rights to self-expression and identity but also subjects them to potential violence and legal consequences, underscoring a punitive approach to moral regulation.

Moreover, the reluctance or outright refusal of law enforcement to file complaints from transgender victims of violence represents a significant barrier to justice. This denial not only exacerbates the victims’ plight but also signals a troubling indifference towards the safety and rights of transgender individuals, perpetuating a cycle of violence and impunity for aggressors.

Adding to this complexity, LGBTQ+ women, in particular, face added pressure following their arrest by security forces. Their sexual orientation is exploited as a tool to coerce confessions, with threats of legal prosecution and the exposure of their sexuality to their families. This unwanted and involuntary outing not only intensifies the pressure on them but also poses risks to their health and lives. The situation was particularly evident during the protests of 2022, highlighting the extreme dangers faced by those whose identities intersect with multiple marginalized statuses. Such practices paint a stark picture of a legal and social environment marked by discrimination, where the basic human rights and protections that should be universally afforded are systematically denied to the transgender community.


This report illuminates the profound and systemic nature of gender inequality in Iran, highlighting how a combination of legal and institutional frameworks, reinforced by specific actors across judiciary, legislative, and law enforcement domains, systematically undermines women’s rights. These entities have been identified as key contributors to a pervasive culture of discrimination and suppression against women.

For more information please contact Skylar Thompson, Director of Global Advocacy and Accountability at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) skylar[at]