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USCIRF Condemns Thirty-One Years of Religious Abuse in Iran

2/10/2010 Iran (USCIRF) – On the eve of the thirty-first anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns the Iranian government’s repression of peaceful activists and reformers. In recent weeks, the Iranian government has convicted and executed individuals on the charge of waging war against God (moharebeh). At least ten others have been charged, convicted, and sentenced to death for moharebeh.

“The Iranian government’s use of religious crimes to crack down on dissidents who peacefully disagree with the government’s interpretation and application of Islamic law is intolerable and should receive the strongest possible rebuke from the world community, ” said USCIRF chair Leonard Leo. “Sadly, the Iranian government has been repressing its citizens on the basis of religious identity for years, but in recent months it has been increasingly manipulating the reach of its religious laws to silence, and in some cases put to death, Shia Muslims simply for exercising their internationally protected rights of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief.”

The government continues to impose lengthy prison sentences on prominent reformers from the Shia majority community, many of whom have been tried on charges of “insulting Islam,” criticizing the Islamic Republic, and publishing materials that allegedly deviate from Islamic standards. USCIRF has long been on record opposing the application of these kinds of blasphemy and other similar laws.

In recent years, religious minorities, particularly Baha’is, as well as Christians and Sufi Muslims have suffered intensified physical attacks, harassment, detention, arrests, and imprisonment. Heightened anti-Semitism and repeated Holocaust denial threats and activities by senior government officials have increased fear among Iran’s Jewish community.

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