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...On Iran

Despite the June 2013 election of a new and purportedly moderate president, the already-poor religious freedom conditions in Iran have continued to deteriorate, particularly for religious minorities, especially Baha’is and Christian converts.  Sufi and Sunni Muslims and dissenting Shi’a Muslims also faced harassment, arrests, and imprisonment.  For more information, view the following:

In June 2014, USCIRF’s then Chair Dr. Robert P. George testified before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at a hearing entitled “One Year Under Rouhani: Iran’s Abysmal Human Rights Record.”  From the testimony:

“President Rouhani has not delivered on his campaign promises of strengthening civil liberties for religious minorities. In fact, the number of Baha’is and Christians in prison for their faith increased over the past year.”

In May 2014, USCIRF then Vice Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett and then Chair Dr. Robert P. George wrote an op-ed: Iran’s Forgotten Prisoners of Conscience, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.  From the op-ed:

“While all religious communities in Iran have suffered persecution since the 1979 Khomeinist revolution, none have fared worse than the Baha'is. The government has since killed more than 200 Baha'i leaders and removed more than 10,000 from government and university positions.”

In April 2014, USCIRF released its 2014 Annual Report.  Click here to read USCIRF’s 2014 Annual Report chapter on Iran (English).  Click here to read chapter in Farsi.  From the report:

"The government of Iran continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused.”