Iran’s foreign ministry rejects US report on religious freedom as ‘politically motivated’

Iran’s foreign ministry rejects US report on religious freedom as ‘politically motivated’

Tehran has dismissed the allegations put forth in a recent US report on religious freedom in Iran as “baseless” and “politically motivated,” saying the document offers a “distorted picture” of the realities in Iran and other countries.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, was reacting to the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, which was released on May 29.

The Iran section of the report claimed that “non-Shia Muslims and those affiliated with a religion other than Islam” residing in the Islamic Republic faced “societal discrimination and harassment.”

Besides Iran, the report also targets Washington’s other foes, including Russia, China and North Korea.

Qassemi said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran views this report as unrealistic, baseless and biased, which has been compiled merely with the aim of serving certain political goals.”

The US, he added, has “no accurate and realistic evaluation” of the situation inside other countries, stressing that this report, which presents yet another distorted picture of religious freedoms in Iran and levels untrue allegations against the Islamic Republic, is “undoubtedly unacceptable and rejected.”

The official said history shows that the great people of Iran, from all faiths and ethnicities, have peacefully coexisted for millennia.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, “followers of all religions have performed their religious traditions in various religious centers across Iran based on the articles of the Constitution and within the framework of law,” Qassemi said, adding that Iranian law “protects all such freedoms.”

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman also called on the United States to avoid politicizing the issue of religion, warning that offering “delusional, self-made and unfounded readings of different religions” could only lead to more interfaith clashes in the world.

The official religion of Iran is Shia Islam under the Constitution. The Islamic Republic recognizes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian religious minorities, among others.

The Constitution states that “the investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden,” and that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.”



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