NewsSpecial WireReligious freedoms in Iran concern US State Department

Religious freedoms in Iran concern US State Department

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Iran Focus: London, Nov. 09 – The United States Department
of State in its 2005 annual International Religious Freedom Report designated Iran as a “Country of Particular Concern” for “severely violating” religious freedoms. Iran Focus

London, Nov. 09 – The United States Department of State in its 2005 annual International Religious Freedom Report designated Iran as a “Country of Particular Concern” for “severely violating” religious freedoms.

The report released by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour highlighted the treatment of religious minorities as a particular concern. “Members of the country’s religious minorities–including Sunni and Sufi Muslims, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians–reported imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Government actions created a threatening atmosphere for some religious minorities, especially Baha’is, Jews, and evangelical Christians”, it said.

“The Government restricts freedom of religion. … The Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance (Ershad) and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) monitor religious activity closely”.

The Iranian government has been propagating an interpretation of Islam that effectively deprives women of some rights granted to men, the report added.

It also highlighted the treatment of women as particularly concerning. “Women must ride in a reserved section on public buses and enter public buildings, universities, and airports through separate entrances. Violators of these restrictions face punishments such as flogging or monetary fines”, it added.

“Women are subject to harassment by the authorities if their dress or behaviour is considered inappropriate and are sentenced to flogging or imprisonment for such violations. Showing pictures of women in the media, including foreign women, who are not dressed in accordance with conservative Islamic dress norms, is prohibited by law. There are penalties, including flogging and monetary fines, for failure to observe norms of Islamic dress at work”.

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