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Iranian Bar Associations: Struggle for Independence



[1] Adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba, 27 August to 7 September 1990; available at: accessed May 24, 2012.

[2] During the early 1900s the revolutionary forces raised to save the country from government corruption and foreign manipulation and to that end saw the only way in making written code of laws. This uprising and its following events was later called the Constitutional Revolution [enqelāb-e-mashruteh]. The efforts of freedom fighters finally bore fruit during the reign of Moazaferedin Shah who ascended to the throne in June 1896. In the wake of the relentless efforts of freedom fighters, Mozafar o-Din Shah of Qajar dynasty was forced to issue the decree for the constitution and the creation of an elected parliament (the Majlis) on August 5, 1906. As a result of this, royal power was limited and a parliamentary system was established. Source: accessed June 22, 2012.

[3] From the speech of Mohammad Jandaghi, the former President of the Central Bar Association, at the First National Congress of Lawyers in Isfahan, May 5, 2011 accessed June 22, 2012.

[4] Goudarz Eftekhar Jahromi has served in several political, academic and legal positions simultaneously in the IRI. He was, inter alia, appointed as the member of the Guardian Council (1980-1992), the Dean of Shaheed Behesht (formerly Melli) Law School (1979 until the present), the Head of the International Legal Services Bureau, and the Head of Iranian Lawyers at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague. Recently, following the election of the Board of Directors in March 2012, he was again elected to be the Chairperson of the Central Bar Association.

[5] Ghasem Sholeh-Sa’adi is a former Member of Parliament, Professor of law at the University of Tehran, and attorney who during the post election protests in 2009 was arrested and sentenced to a total of 3 years in prison and banned from practicing law and teaching at the university for ten years.

[6] Adopted on June 17, 1979 by the Revolution Council.

[7] According to Article 112 of the IRI Constitution, the Regime’s Expediency Council shall solve the conflict at any time that the Guardian Council declares a Bill adopted by the Islamic Consultative Assembly [Parliament] to be against the principles of Shari’a or the Constitution, and Parliament does not follow the views of the Guardian Council and insist on its stance.

[8] AbbasAli Ameed Zanjani (1937-2011) was the former Member of Parliament who on December 27, 2007, despite the criticisms, was appointed as the Chairperson of the University of Tehran.

[9] In Iranian political parlance, a “Double-Urgent” bill is a type of bill which due to the high urgency of its provisions and resulting passage, necessitates that Parliament expedite its general meeting process and hold a general meeting within 24 hours after the double-urgency of the Bill is passed. This kind of bill shall not be sent to the specialized Commissions of Parliament. In addition, the members of the Guardian Council shall attend the session of Parliament and after the Bill is passed by MPs, the members of the Guardian Council shall declare their decision in the same session or within 24 hours.

[10] Final report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, para 130, E/CN.4/1993/41, January 28, 1993

[11] Ibid.

[12] According to note 4 of article 2 of the same Law, exception applies to the believers of other official religions. Article 13 of the Constitution only recognizes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians as the “official religious minorities”.

[13] According to article 76 of the Regulations of the Law of Independence: “Disciplinary Punishments are as follows:

1- The Written Notice

2- Reprimand with a notice in file

3- Reprimand with a notice in the Official Gazette and the Journal of the Bar association

4- Demotion of the degree

5- Suspension [from practicing law] from 3 months to 3 years

6- Life deprivation from practicing law.

[14] Conditions number 1-6 are general (i.e. for all lawyers) and number 7-11 are special (i.e. only for the Directors of the Board).

[15] The final list of the disqualified candidates are as follows: 1-Ali Hamed Tavassoli  2-Ali Najafi Tavana  3-Hossein Askari Rad  4-Farideh Gheyrat  5-Ahmad Javidtash  6-Amir Hossein Abadi  7-Gholamali Riyahi  8-Jahangir Mostoufi  9-Reza Motamedi  10-Majid Pour Ostad  11-Shahram Fathi Nejad  12-Ramezan Haji Mashhadi  13-Rosa Gharachorlu  14-Jamshid Vahida  15-Mohammad Ali Dadkhah  16-Giti Pour Fazel  17-Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei  18-Nemat Ahmadi  19-Abdolsamad Khorramshahi  20-Akbar Sardarzadeh  21-Hossein Ali Farzad  22-Shahla Pournazeri  23-Mohammad Hossein Aghasi  24-Sorayya Seddighi  25-Mohammad Ali Jedari Foroughi.

[16] Radio Farda, Independence of the Bar Association: A Dark Future, accessed May 13, 2012.

[17] Official Gazette No. 18771 dated August 12, 2009.

[18] Decision No. 216 dated May 31, 2009, issued by the General Session of the Court of Administrative Justice.

[19] Shirin Ebadi published a list of 42 attorneys who have been harassed and prosecuted following the 2009 election; accessed May 28, 2012.

[20] Bahman Keshavarz, The Organization of Attorneys Means Dependence, April 13,2012  accessed May 21, 2012.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Keshavarz, Bahman, Independence of the Bar and 13 Controversial Articles, Daily Shargh, April 15, 2012.

[23] Keshavarz, Bahman, Independence of the Bar Association at Risk, Daily Etemad, July 4, 2009.

[24] International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, IBAHRI alarmed at recent changes to Iranian legislation curtailing the independence of bar associations, 20/07/2009, accessed May 8, 2012.

[25] Source: accessed Nov 16, 2012.

[26] The Spokesperson of the Judiciary, in his press conference on Nov 12, 2012, confirmed that the enforcement of the order of shutting down the Union of the Bar Associations is suspended until further investigations. accessed Nov 16, 2012.

[27] Human Rights Watch, Iran: Halt Moves to Curtail Lawyers accessed July 5, 2012. For the details of the case see accessed July 6, 2012.

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Lawyers, Right to counsel