The term, “non-governmental organization” or NGO, came into use in 1945 because of the need for the UN to differentiate in its Charter between participation rights for intergovernmental specialized agencies and those for international private organizations. At the UN, virtually all types of private bodies can be recognized as NGOs.
They only have to be independent of government control, not seeking to challenge governments either as a political party or by a narrow focus on human rights, non-profit-making and non-criminal.
As of 2003, there were reportedly over 20,000 NGOs active in Iran. The majority of these organizations is charity organizations and thus would not fall under the category of development-oriented NGOs. In this document, the term NGO is primarily used for organizations other than charitable organizations