Action Memorandum 003

October 22, 1995

 New Security Law Violates Human Rights


The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is concerned that a sweepingnew security law voted by the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) on October17 adds a new threat to the human rights of ordinary Iraniancitizens. The new law criminalizes a wide variety of non-violentpolitical activity, and creates broad categories of "seditious"behavior that are punishable by law. It also creates a sweeping new"national security" provision, which can be used against politicalopponents both inside and outside Iran. This new law goes far beyondexisting statutes in the Islamic Republic and suggests that recentriots in South Tehran and labor strikes in major factories may havedestabilized the regime much more than previously thought.

The law imposes a penalty of two to ten years in prison foranyone, regardless of ideology, who forms or leads a group of morethan two members, in Iran or abroad, with the aim of threatening thecountry's security, Tehran radio reported. For defendants who arefound by an Islamic court to be "mohareb" - infidels - the penalty isdeath.

Under this provision, the Islamic Republic could claim legaljustification in kidnapping political opponents living outside ofIran. A first instance of this appears to have occurred on September27, when Ali Tavassoli, a former central committee of the Fedayeen(Majority) Organization, was reportedly kidnapped by Iraniangovernment agents in Baku. Mr. Tavassoli had traveled to Azerbaijanfrom Britain for a business meeting. According to the Fedayeen he hadretired from their active leadership in 1989.

Other provisions of the new law raise the intimidation levelagainst ordinary Iranians for any contact with foreigners or fellowcitizens suspect of contact with foreigners.

The new law:

• imposes a maximum ten year jail sentence on anyoneconvicted of passing "confidential" information on Iran's domestic orforeign policies to unauthorized persons;

• imposes a maximum ten year jail sentence on "attempts todemoralize the armed forces and the police," including appeals tosoldiers to desert;

• a maximum five year jail sentence for foreign nationalscaught spying in Iran on behalf of a foreign state;

This sweeping new security law is a clear violation of thefundamental human rights of Iranian citizens. The Foundationvigorously condemns these efforts by the Iranian regime, and calls onIran's Majlis to rescind the law before it goes into effect.


The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private,non-profit corporation registered in the State of Maryland.Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director ( materials, including the FDI Newswire, are availablefree-of-charge via the Internet at