85. While in Tehran, we discussed the grievance felt
by non-Muslims in Iran that so-called 'blood money' was paid at
differential rates, with more being paid in respect of Muslims
than those of other faiths. Blood money, or di'yeh, can
be paid under Sharia law, which allows the family or relatives
of a murdered person to choose between pardoning a convicted murderer,
demanding blood money or insisting on capital punishment. In January
2004, we were informed by the Iranian Embassy in London that the
Council of Guardians had approved a bill amending the constitution
to provide for equal blood money for all Iranian nationals, regardless
of their religion.
We welcome this change, which provides a small but important example
of Iranian society moving in the right direction.