ICC Note: This just in from the center of religious toleration. . . Iran
Iran holds its Black Church as symbol of tolerance
By Fredrik Dahl and Reza Derakhshi
Iran (Daily Times) The last priest left the Black Church more than half a century ago and now the picture on the wall of a former monks cell is of the Islamic Republics founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, not Jesus.
But Iran says this medieval Armenian Christian retreat in a mountainous region close to Turkey and Armenia shows it is observing the rights of other faiths. It denies charges from Iran s old foe the United States that it discriminates against Christian and other religious minorities. The Armenian bishop in Tehran tells Reuters such talk is a Western innovation.
The US State Department said in a March report that all religious minorities suffered varying degrees of discrimination in Iran , particularly in employment, education and housing. But Sebouh Sarkissian, the Armenian archbishop in Tehran , dismissed such allegations as an innovation from the West.