Criminal Defense in Iran

Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense

The criminal Defense in Iran consists of the rules states in the Islamic Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure which both ratified and amended after the Islamic Revolution, in 2014.

In general, the right of defense is a kind of right that everyone may enjoy whenever he/she deems as an accused person before the court. Therefore, your race, sex, age, and even your position wouldn’t be important.

The presumption of the innocent is the basis of the right to defense. It means that everyone presumes as an innocent person until his/her guilty prove before the court. Therefore, by considering the presumption of innocent, every accused person would enjoy the right of defense.


What is the context in which someone may enjoys from the highest level of criminal defense?

Yes, fair trial. Which means a trial that held fairly, justly and without any discrimination. The fair trial requires some criteria in which the accused would enjoy the right of silence, the right of equality of arms, the right to have an advocate, etc.


What are the criminal courts in Iran?

  • Criminal Court I
  • Criminal Court II
  • Revolutionary Court
  • Juvenile Court
  • Military Court I & II


Which crimes shall be examine in each of Iranian Criminal Courts?

  • Criminal Court II: In accordance with Article 301 of Iran’s Criminal Procedure Code, the Criminal Court II shall have jurisdiction to examine all crimes with the exception of those falling under the jurisdiction of another court.
  • Criminal Court I: On the contrary, according to Article 302 of the Code of Iran’s Criminal Procedure, the crimes with a high intensity such as the crimes with life imprisonment, death penalties, etc. shall be examined by Criminal Court I.
  • Revolutionary Court: Regarding Article 303 of the above-mentioned code, the Revolutionary Court shall be in charge of the examination of the crimes related to domestic and foreign security, armed rebellion, smuggled arms narcotics, etc.
  • Juvenile Court: By considering the Code of Iran’s Criminal Procedure, the committed crimes by under 18 year’s perpetrator shall be examined by Juvenile Court in which there are some additional facilities for the minor’s perpetrators.
  • Military Court I & II: Military Courts in Iran’s Criminal Procedure code are the courts that shall examine the charges against military forces regarding their responsibility.


What are the barriers to criminal liability?

All the barriers to criminal liability are mentioned in Iran’s Islamic Penal Code as below:

  • Minority
  • Mental disorder
  • Coercion and Duress
  • Mistake of law/Mistake of fact

For each of the above barriers, there are some conditions that make the barriers applicable in specific situations. For example, in accordance with Article 147 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran, the age of majority in girls and boys shall be full nine and full fifteen years in the lunar calendar, therefore the age of majority in Iran is not in the line with international documents and require specific criteria.


What are the justified factors of the crime?

  • Order of a superior official authority
  • Self defense
  • Necessity
  • Victim’s consent

As was mentioned previously, the Iran Penal Code was regulated in accordance with Sharia, therefore each of the above elements should conduct with specific conditions if you want to resort them as justified factors of the crime before Iran’s Criminal Courts


Legal differences between barriers to criminal liability and justified factors of the crime?

Although at the first glance, both barriers to criminal liability and justified factors of the crime may lead to the same conclusion and make the perpetrator free from the criminal liability, but there is a deep conceptual difference between them. In case when you resort to the barriers of criminal liability, the occurred act or omission doesn’t evaluate as a crime regarding the definition presented in Article 2 of the Islamic Penal Code. But, in case of applying the justified factors of the crime, the act or omission should be considered as illegal conduct which is permitted under the Islamic Penal Code and wouldn’t any punishment prescribe for them.


The Criminal Defense in Iran also divides to the below topics:

  • The Insanity Defense
  • Coercion and Duress
  • Self-Defense
  • Consent
  • Intoxication
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Mistake of law/Mistake of fact
  • Abandonment/Withdrawal