Dissemination of and Free Access to Information
Enacted in 7 July 2009
Chapter One :
Definitions and Principles
Sub-chapter One : Definitions
Article 1 – In this law,
the following words and expressions are used with the meanings specified:
a – Information: any kind of data mentioned in documents, stored in
software or recorded otherwise
b – Personal Information: information pertaining to individuals
such as name, surname, home and work addresses, the situation of family life, personal
habits, physical problems, bank account numbers and passwords.
c – public Information: non-personal information such as
regulations and bylaws, national and official statistics and figures,
administrative documents and communications which are not under of the exceptions
to Chapter 4 of this law.
d – Public Institutions: all state organizations and institutions in
the broad sense of the word, including all of their parts and constituents
which are mentioned in the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
e – Private Institutions: in this law, a private institution
includes any for-profit and non-for-profit institutions, exclusive of public
Sub-chapter Two : Freedom of Information
Article 2 – Any Iranian citizen
is entitled to have access to public information, unless prohibited by law. Any
use of public information or its dissemination shall be subject to laws and
Article 3 – Every person
has the right to prevent the release and dissemination of the information which
has been provided by him/her but manipulated before release, provided that such
information has not been provided on the order of other person, in which case
the matter shall be subject to an agreement between them.
Article 4 – It shall be
forbidden to compel those who provide and disseminate information to disclose
the sources of their information, unless ordered by competent judicial
authorities, but this shall not negate the liability of those providing and
Sub-chapter Three : The Right of Access to Information
Article 5 – Public
institutions are obliged to provide people with the information which is the
subject of this law in the shortest time possible and without discrimination.
Note – The information which brings rights and obligations for
people should be released through public announcements and mass media as well.
Chapter Two : Procedure
of Access to Information
Sub-chapter One : Request for Access to Information, and Deadline for
Replying to the Request
Article 6 – Requests for
access to private information shall only
be accepted from natural persons to whom the information is related, or from
their legal representatives.
Article 7 – A public
institution is not authorized to ask applicants requesting information to
provide a reason or justification for their request.
Article 8 – A public or
private institution should reply to the request for information as soon as
possible, and the time to reply should not exceed maximum ten days after the
request is received. In six months’ time from the date this law is ratified, the
bylaw on the enforcement of this article shall be proposed by the Commission on
Dissemination of and Free Access to Information and approved by the Council of Ministers.
Sub-chapter Two : How to Reply to Requests
Article 9 – Replies by
private institutions to the requests for access to information should be in
writing or electronic.
Chapter Three :
Promotion of Transparency
Sub-chapter One: Obligation to Release Information
Article 10 – Each public
institution for the public good and in line with citizens rights, , should at
least on an annual basis, publish public information except classified ones,
including its performance report and balance sheet, using computer facilities,
and if possible, in the form of a guidebook, which could contain the following
information. Citizens may receive the guidebook after paying the cost :
a – Objectives, duties, strategies, policies and there structures;
b – Methods and stages of all the services offered directly by the
institution to members of the society;
c – Mechanisms through which citizens can complain about the
institution’s decisions and actions;
d – Different types and forms of the information kept at that
institution, and the regulations on how to access them;
e - The powers and duties of its senior officials;
f –All the mechanisms or bylaws by which natural and legal persons
as well as non-governmental organizations may contribute to the fulfillment of
the institution’s duties or may be effective otherwise.
Note – As regards the institutions which are under the direct
supervision of the Supreme Leader, this Article shall be implemented except
when there is opposition by the Supreme Leader.
Article 11 – Enactments
and decisions which involve public rights or duties cannot be classified as
state secrets, and should be published.
Sub-chapter Two: –The Information unit’s Report to the Commission
on Dissemination of and Free Access to Information
Article 12 – Public
institutions’ information units are obliged to present to the Commission on
Dissemination of and Free Access to Information annual reports on the
institution’s activities geared to the implementation of this law.
Chapter Four : Exceptions
in Access to Information
Sub-chapter One : State Secrets
Article 13 – In the event
that the applicant’s request is related to classified documents and information
(state secrets), public institutions should withhold such information. Access
to classified information is subject to specific laws and regulations.
Sub-chapter Two : Protection of Privacy
Article 14 – If the
requested information pertains to privacy of persons, or is regarded as
information obtained through the violation of privacy, the request should be
Article 15 – If accepting
the request leads to the illegal disclosure of personal information of the third
person, the institutions subject to this law should withhold the requested
A – The third party has given his/her consent, explicitly and in
writing, to the disclosure of information about him/her.
B – The applicant is the third party’s legal guardian or lawyer, and
acting within his/her powers.
C – The applicant is a public institution, and the requested
information is, based on the law, directly related to its powers and duties.
Sub-chapter Three : Protection of Health and Trade Information
Article 16 – If, based on
legal evidences, it is proven to the institutions subject to this law that
providing the requested information will jeopardize individuals life or health
or inflict material or trade losses upon them, the institutions should withhold
Sub-chapter Four : Miscellaneous Cases
Article 17 – The
institutions subject to this law are obliged to withhold information in cases
where the requested information shall harm or disrupt the following:
a – Public peace and security;
b – Prevention or investigation of crimes or prosecution of criminals;
c – Auditing and collecting taxes or legal fees;
d – Monitoring immigration into the country.
Note 1 – The provisions of Articles 13–17 shall not apply to
information regarding the existence or emergence of environmental risks and threats
to public health.
Note 2 – The subject of Articles 15 and 16 shall not apply to
information which might lead to defamation, outrage public decency or promote obscene
Chapter Five : The
Commission on Dissemination of and Free Access to Information
Sub-chapter One : Formation of the Commission
Article 18 – In order to
support freedom of information and public access to the information available
at public and private institutions which offer public services, the Commission
on Dissemination of and Free Access to Information shall be established upon
order by the President with the following lineup in order to draw up executive
plans required for information dissemination, monitor the proper implementation
of the plans, settle the disputes on how to provide information by standard
practice making , promote the culture of freedom of information and offer
guidelines as well as consultative opinions:
a – The Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance (head of the
b –The Minister of Communications and Information Technology or the
c – The Minister of Intelligence or the relevant deputy
d – The Minister of Defense and Logistics of the Armed Forces or the
e – The Head of the country’s Management and Planning Organization
or the relevant deputy
f –The Head of the Administrative Court of Justice
g – The Chairman of Parliament’s Cultural Commission
h – The Secretary of the country’s Supreme Information Technology
Note 1 – The secretariat of the abovesaid commission shall be
established at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Internal Rules as
well as the responsibilities of the secretariat shall be proposed by the
abovementioned commission and approved by the Council of Ministers.
Note 2 – The decisions made by the Commission on Dissemination of
and Free Access to Information shall be binding after the president’s approval.
Sub-chapter Two : The Commission’s Report
Article 20 – The
commission should present to the Parliament and the President an annual report
on its activities and the observance of this law by the institutions subject to
Chapter Six :
Civil and Criminal Liabilities
Article 21 – Any natural
or legal person whose material and non –material interests have been harmed due
to the release of false information about him/her is entitled to deny the said
information or give explanations on the information and seek remedies in
accordance with the general rules of the civil liability.
Note – In the event of dissemination of true information in
violation of the provisions of this law, natural and legal persons have the
right to demand damages in accordance with the general rules of the civil liability.
Article 22 –Deliberate
commission of the following acts shall be regarded as an offense, and the
perpetrator shall be sentenced to the payment of cash fines from Rls. 300
thousand (300,000) to Rls. 100 million (100,000,000) depending on the seriousness
of the act, the number of times the offense was committed and the condition of
a – Prevention of access to information in violation of the provisions
stipulated in this law;
b – Commission or non-commission of any act, which may hinder the
discharging of responsibilities of the Commission on Dissemination of and Free
Access to Information, or impede public institutions’ task of disseminating
information in violation of the provisions of this law;
c– partial or total erasure of information without having the legal
authority to do so;
d –Violation of the provisions of this law as regards the deadlines
If any of the abovementioned offenses carry heavier punishments in
other laws, the same shall be meted out.
Article 23 – In maximum
three months’ time from the date this law is passed, the bylaw on the
enforcement of this law shall be drawn up by the Ministry of Culture and
Islamic Guidance in cooperation with relevant institutions, and approved by the
council of Ministers.