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Forgiveness WorkMercy, Law, and Victims' Rights in Iran$
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Arzoo Osanloo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172040

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172040.001.0001

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Crimtorts and Lifeworlds

(p.1) Introduction
Forgiveness Work

Arzoo Osanloo

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the work of forbearance in Iran's criminal justice system. In Iran, the codification of forbearance emerges from a hybrid crimtort justice system, complete with its own conditions of possibility. Iran's criminal laws are clear in defining certain categories of punishment as a consequence of specific injuries. The laws also stipulate the conditions for forbearance. However, the penal code is silent with respect to how parties should arrive at reconciliation. That is, the state encourages settlement, but for all intents and purposes, leaves to the parties themselves to determine what the substance and process of that settlement might be. The conjuncture of a clear legal and moral duty to seek reconciliation alongside the absence of specific guidelines on how to do so has a generative quality and produces an arena outside of the state's judicial apparatus, yet still of it, for bringing about a settlement short of retribution or for forgiveness work. Thus, the manifest moral and legal compulsion to forgive without meaningful guidelines on how to do so has produced an informal cottage industry of advocacy, one that is populated by diverse actors and which produces numerous avenues for negotiating forbearance by forging reconciliation and settlement.

Keywords:   forbearance, Iranian criminal justice system, crimtort justice system, Iranian criminal laws, punishment, penal code, reconciliation, forgiveness work

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