Sentimental Reasoning and Reconciled Duties
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.
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