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Iran: Information on virginity (chastity) tests in 1997, including reasons for such tests and procedure and options or recourse for someone ordered to under go such a test

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 April 1998
Citation / Document Symbol IRN29211.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Iran: Information on virginity (chastity) tests in 1997, including reasons for such tests and procedure and options or recourse for someone ordered to under go such a test, 1 April 1998, IRN29211.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac6d6b.html [accessed 29 March 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

The Research Directorate was told in a 17 April 1998 e-mail communication from a professor of political science at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, specializing in Iran, that a virginity test may be ordered by a judge in Iran, "but one has to provide prima facie evidence for a judge to rule favourably on this." The same professor told the Research Directorate in a 21 April 1998 telephone interview that the apprehension of two unmarried young people of  opposite sexes alone in a car would likely be considered sufficient prima facie evidence to justify a court-ordered virginity test. As to whether the test must be done by a government or court-appointed doctor, or whether the woman to be tested may have the test carried out by her family doctor, that is up to the judge in the case, according to the professor.

According to an 18 January 1997 article on Iran in The Economist, if

a young woman is found in a "compromising" situation with an unrelated man, perhaps driving out of  Tehran together ... [b]oth young people [may be] arrested and their parents summoned. The woman may be examined to see if she is virgin. If she is not, the unfortunate couple may be forced to marry.

For information on virginity tests in Iran, please see Response to Information Request IRN26039.E of 18 February 1997.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

The Economist [London]. 18 January 1997. "Behind the Chador." (NEXIS)

Professor of political science, Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama. 17 and 21 April 1998. E-mail communication and telephone interview.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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