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To the Government of Iran

C Amend the constitution in order to revise the sweeping language of article 24, so that restrictions on expression are in accord with the norms of free expression set out in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international instruments to which Iran is a party.

C Replace the Press Law of 1985 with legislation that maximizes the right to freedom of expression and ensure that any restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression are specific and narrowly defined so as not to place in jeopardy the right to free expression itself.

C Oppose the proposed amendments to the Press Law currently before the parliament that would further restrict freedom of expression.

C Cease punitive measures against editors, journalists, writers, and publishers whose sole offense is their criticism of the government and its policies;

C In the event of a publication being closed by administrative order, there should be the safeguard of immediate appeal to an independent judicial body to protect the right to freedom of expression.

C Establish procedures whereby writers, journalists, and editors accused of violating the law are judged in a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal, in accordance with international law. In those cases where criminal penalties may be imposed, defendants must receive the full guarantees for fair trial provided for in article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right of appeal to a higher tribunal.

C Cease prosecuting journalists, writers, and others in Revolutionary Courts and the Special Court for the Clergy for expressing opinions that in no way threaten public order or national security as these terms are understood in international law.

C Reform press courts as well as other judicial bodies to ensure that they are fully independent and impartial, and not susceptible to outside interference or pressure.

C Investigate and prosecute leaders and members of the violent groups known as ansar-e hezbollahi who intimidate individuals, destroy property, and threaten the lives of journalists, publishers, and others exercising their right to express themselves freely.

C Lift restrictions on domestic human rights monitors and cooperate with international human rights monitors from the United Nations and independent nongovernmental organizations.

To the International Community

C Encourage the government of Iran to adopt legislation and regulations with regard to freedom of expression that comport with international standards, and urge Iranian officials to implement the recommendations contained in this report.

C Make clear that Iran will continue to be subject to special procedures under the U.N. Human Rights Commission until the government halts grave abuses such as the arbitrary detention and prosecution of journalists and writers and the failure to investigate and prosecute persons accused of assaults against them.

C Encourage Iran to open its doors to formal visits by United Nations human rights bodies and independent nongovernmental human rights organizations.

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