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ICC Note: An annual report released by the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) labeled Iran a top violator of religious freedom, Fox News reports.  “Since becoming president, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for an end to the development of Christianity in Iran,” noted the report. Christians are routinely arrested and house churches are often raided by government officials in Iran.
By Benjamin Weinthal
5/7/2013 Iran (Fox News) – Religious freedom is in short supply in the Middle East, according to the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has issued a report finding Iran chief among the nations where spiritual beliefs can bring prison sentences or worse.
The commission, which reports to President Obama, named several nations including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, North Korea and China. But it singled out Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the theocratic state’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for their harsh crackdown on non-Islamic religions.
“Since becoming president, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for an end to the development of Christianity in Iran,” noted the report in its section on the Iranian regime’s gutting of Christian freedoms.
The report took 15 countries to task over their “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom, which the commission defined as “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” acts of torture, prolonged detention without charges, disappearances, or “other flagrant denial[s] of the right to life, liberty or the security of persons.” The exhaustive, 364-page report covered the period January 31, 2012 – January 31, 2013.
“The government of Iran’s increased persecution of religious minorities should raise alarm around the world,” Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told FoxNews.com. “I urge the administration to designate key Iranian officials as human right abusers — starting with the judge who put American citizen and Pastor Saeed Abedini in prison for practicing his faith.”

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