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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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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Seeking Reconciliation

Seeking Reconciliation

Sentimental Reasoning and Reconciled Duties

(p.88) 3 Seeking Reconciliation
Forgiveness Work

Arzoo Osanloo

Princeton University Press

This chapter studies the operations of the Iranian criminal law and analyzes how the procedural administration of the law animates the shariʻa. Iranian criminal laws provide many avenues for victims to forgo retributive sanctioning. But preserving the right of retribution serves several purposes: maintaining the sovereign's monopoly on legitimate violence, giving victims a sense of power, and halting the cycle of violence. The way Iran achieves this comprises an interesting balancing act between maintaining the monopoly over legitimate violence and granting individual victims the right of retribution, which its leaders believe, through their interpretation of the shariʻa, cannot be appropriated by the sovereign. Since the law categorizes intentional murder as qisas and leaves judges with no discretion in sentencing, the judges may use their considerable influence to pressure the family to forgo retribution. The chapter then considers the role of judges and examines how the laws (substantive and procedural) shape their reasoning and discretion in both sentencing and encouraging forbearance.

Keywords:   Iranian criminal laws, shariʻa, victims, retributive sanctioning, retribution, legitimate violence, intentional murder, qisas, judges, forbearance

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