US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. File photo

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. File photo

US Designates Iran, China For Concern Over Religious Freedom

Friday, 12/02/2022

The United States on Friday designated China, Iran and Russia, among others, as countries of particular concern under the Religious Freedom Act over severe violations.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement said those designated as countries of particular concern - which also include North Korea and Myanmar - engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom.

"Around the world, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail, and even kill individuals on account of their beliefs," Blinken said in the statement.

"The United States will not stand by in the face of these abuses."

He added that Washington would welcome the opportunity to meet with all governments to outline concrete steps for removal from the lists.

Washington has increased pressure on Iran over the brutal crackdown on protesters. Women have waved and burned headscarves - mandatory under Iran's conservative dress codes - during the demonstrations that mark one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

The United Nations says more than 300 people have been killed so far and 14,000 arrested in protests.

United Nations experts have also called on Iran to stop persecution and harassment of religious minorities and end the use of religion to curtail the exercise of fundamental rights.

The Baha’i community is among the most severely persecuted religious minorities in Iran, with a marked increase in arrests and targeting this year, part of what the UN experts called broader policy of targeting dissenting beliefs or religious practices, including Christian converts and atheists.

Reporting by Reuters

IITV News (54) - DC
IITV News (54) - DC
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