Baku, Azerbaijan, July 30
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
The spokesperson of Iran's foreign ministry, Marzieh Afkham has marked the U.S. administration as one of the major religious rights' violators in the world.
The official made the statement while responding to the U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report for 2013, released on July 28.
"Growing Islamophobia in the United States, systematic discrimination against Muslims and imposing limitations on religious minorities' freedom in the U.S. community has turned the country into one of the major violators of religious rights," Afkham said, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported on July 30.
The U.S. State Department report, says Iran alongside with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Sudan in 2013 "put severe restrictions on members of religious groups that did not conform to the state-approved religions."
Iran's government severely restricted religious freedom, and there were reports of imprisonment, harassment, intimidation and discrimination based on religious beliefs, according to the report.
The report also stressed that the Islamic Republic charges religious and ethnic minorities with moharebeh (enmity against God), "anti-Islamic propaganda," or vague national security crimes for their religious activities.
Ruling out the claims of the report, Afkham called it invalid, saying that such reports are instrumental, prepared and broadcast with the mere goal of piling up pressure on other countries.
She went on to add that the constitution of Iran explicitly calls for respecting all the divine religions and freedom to observe their rituals and ceremonies.