Iranian Private International Law in Marital Conflicts


Professor Gabriel Sawma


Application of Iranian Law on Iranian Nationals Living Outside Iran

The personal status law of Iranian nationals residing outside Iranian territory is governed by the Iranian Civil Code (ICC). Articles 6 and 7 of the ICC state that “The laws relating to personal status, such as marriage, divorce, capacity and inheritance, shall be observed by all Iranian subjects, even if resident abroad” (Art. 6). Similar provision can apply to other issues, such as guardianship, custodianship, and adoption, as illustrated in other articles of the ICC, (see for example article 965 of the ICC). In marriages of mixed nationalities, Iranian law applies where the husband is Iranian and, where paternity is certain, this extends to the children according to articles 963 and 964 of the ICC. Iranian nationality is defined in articles 76 to 990. The entire text of the ICC is published on our website at:


Law Applicable in Personal Status to Foreign Nationals Living in Iran

Foreign Nationals residing in Iran are subject, in their personal status, to Article 7 of the ICC; it reads: “Foreign nationals resident territory shall within the limits laid down by treaties, be bound by the laws and decrees of the Government to which they are subject in questions relating to their personal status and capacity, and similarly in questions relating to rights of inheritance.” Accordingly, foreign nationals who are residing in the Iranian territory shall, within the limits laid down by the treaties and conventions, be bound by the laws and decrees of the country to which they are subject in matters related to their personal status and capacity and similarly in matters related to rights of inheritance.

It is important to note that the foreign law will be applied on personal status if the non-Iranian citizen has a legal domicile in Iran. The definition of ‘domicile’ is expressed in Article 1002 of the ICC, which reads: “The domicile of every person is the place wherein he lives and where also is the principal center of his affairs. If the place or residence of a person is different from the principal center of his affairs, the latter will be considered as his domicile.”

For more information on the Iranian divorce in USA, and custody of children, please read our articles on the right column on this website:


DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.


Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background, and a recognized authority on Islamic law of marriage, divorce and custody of children, Hindu marital disputes in U.S. courts, and Iran divorce in USA.

Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law and Islamic law; Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce in US Courts and Canada. Expert Consultant on Hindu divorce in U.S. courts and Iranian divorce in USA.

Admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association; former Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Prof. Sawma lectured at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in New York State and wrote many affidavits to immigration authorities, Federal Courts, and family State Courts in connection with recognition of Islamic foreign divorces in the U.S., Hindu divorces, and Iranian marital conflicts.

Travelled numerous times to Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf States, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, and wrote extensively on Islamic and u divorces, custody of children in USA and abroad.

Speaks, reads, and writes several languages among which are: Arabic, English, and French.

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Contact Information:


Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

Tel. (609) 915-2237


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