Compliance of Iran’s National Law’s with International Laws Regarding Religious Freedoms in National Minorities
This paper discusses the compliance of the national laws of Iran regarding the freedom of religion for persons belonging to a national minority, with regards to international law and international treaties with which it is signatory. Islam is the majority religion in Iran with 98 percent of the population ascribed to it. However, within Islam, there are sub-groups, in which 89 percent are Shi’a Muslims with only 9 percent Sunni Muslims. The non-Muslim population comprises of Christians, Baha’is, Mandaeans, Jews and Zoroastrians: these encompass only two percent of the population. Therefore, Shi’a Muslims will be discussed in some instances as representative of the minority population. The state’s recognition of Islam automatically limits the rights of other minorities while practicing their faith. Iran’s constitution in article 13 only acknowledges three religious minority groups: Zoroastrian, Jews, and Christians, leaving out Baha’is which was a splinter group from Islam. The state has defined them as a misguided and wayward sect, denying them all rights on account of their religion. Conversely, international laws regarding the treatment of minority religions contradict this, with unequivocal support for religious rights of all minorities. Additionally, the paper will tackle the different international treaty laws in which Iran is signatory and their implementation on national laws on religious freedoms for minority groups.