The Islamic Republic of Iran holds elections regularly, but they fall short of democratic standards due in part to the influence of the hard-line Guardian Council, an unelected body that disqualifies all candidates it deems insufficiently loyal to the clerical establishment. Ultimate power rests in the hands of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the unelected institutions under his control. These institutions, including the security forces and the judiciary, play a major role in the suppression of dissent and other restrictions on civil liberties.
Countries in the Spotlight
Freedom in the World's Countries in the Spotlight features countries that experienced important developments in 2019 that affected their democratic trajectory, and deserve special scrutiny in 2020. In Iran, security forces killed hundreds of people and arrested thousands in a bid to stamp out antigovernment protests, and authorities set a worrying new precedent with a near-complete internet shutdown that suppressed media coverage and ordinary communications during the crisis. View the full report to learn about the other Countries in the Spotlight.
Freedom on the Net— Iran Country Report
Iran is rated Not Free in Freedom on the Net, Freedom House's comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe.
Transnational Repression Threatens Freedom Worldwide
Iran: Plot to Kidnap American Writer Highlights Threat of Transnational Repression
July 14, 2021
In Iran, Authorities Defend an Illegitimate Election by Suppressing Online Dissent
June 14, 2021
Joint Letter: US Must Prioritize Human Rights in Shaping Future Policy Toward Iran
May 10, 2021
New Report: Transnational Repression Is a Growing Threat to Global Democracy
February 4, 2021
Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Internet Freedom Is Under Attack in The Middle East and North Africa
January 19, 2021