15:30 GMT29 September 2020
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    Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi stated that US report on religious freedom portrayed a distorted and politicized image of religious freedom conditions in the country.

    MOSCOW(Sputnik) — Tehran criticized the US report on religious freedom for "unfounded and biased" coverage of the situation in the country, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a statement on Wednesday.

    On Tuesday, the US Department of State issued an International Religious Freedom Report for 2016. Comprising an overview of the situation with violations on religious grounds, the document alleged that Iranian authorities harassed and arrested representatives of religious minorities, such as Bahais, Christians, Sunni Muslims and others, adding that over 300 members of such groups remain imprisoned for their religious activities or beliefs.

    "This report has once again portrayed a distorted and politicized image of religious freedom conditions in the Islamic Republic of Iran," Qassemi said in a statement, published on the Iranian Foreign Ministry's website.

    Qassemi stressed the necessity of avoiding politicizing the issue of religion and religious diversity, otherwise it could lead to the escalation of inter-religious crises.

    "In order to settle religious differences and getting them [religions] closer to each other, one should strongly avoid politicizing the issue… The US administration seems to have forgotten about this important goal and is only trying to take political advantage of the existing religious diversity in some countries in the world," the statement read.

    The 2015 report claimed that non-Muslims and non-Shia faced societal discrimination with at least 250 members of minority religious groups remained imprisoned.


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