Under the Iranian Penal Code murder is punishable by qesas-e nafs, or death. Murder by someone with diminished responsibility may be punishable by the payment of diyeh, a form of compensation. In cases of premeditated murder, the family of the victim has the right to ask for their relative's killer to be put to death. The family can also choose to forgive the culprit and accept payment of diyeh (blood money) instead.
Under Article 300 of the Penal Code, the diyeh for the first- or second-degree murder of a Muslim woman is half of that of a murdered Muslim man.
Murder is treated as a private dispute between two civil parties - the state's role is to facilitate the resolution of the dispute through the judicial process. In this sense, the death penalty is regarded as being imposed by the state, whereas qesas is imposed by the family of the victim. As a result, sentences of qesas are not open to pardon or amnesty by the Supreme Leader, whereas most other death sentences can be reversed by the Supreme Leader.
Under Iran's international obligations, the Iranian authorities remain fully responsible for respecting and protecting the rights of those under its jurisdiction, irrespective of the role that private parties may play in the administration of justice. In the Iranian legal system, there is a distinction between cases where the penalty is hokm-e 'edam ("execution") and qesas-e nafs (“retaliation”), although people sentenced to qesas are often reported in the media to have been sentenced to death. There is no such distinction in international law.
Iranian law allows the death penalty for boys from age 15 and for girls from age 9, considered the age of criminal responsibility.
Between June 1981 and 1990, at least 2,000 women were executed, including 85 hanged in 1988. The Organisation of Women Against Execution in Iran has named 1,428 confirmed victims.
187 were under age 18
9 were under age 9
32 were pregnant
Since the law dictates that virgins cannot be executed, there is widespread forced ‘marriage’ between condemned girls and prison guards. Raping the girls before their executions ensures that their souls will not go to Heaven. One report states, “After the execution, the religious judge at the prison would write out a marriage certificate and send it to the victim's family along with a box of sweets.”