April 30, 2020
The bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has singled out Iran and several other countries for criticism in its annual report released on Tuesday, April 28.
Referring to the continuing violations of religious freedom by the clergy-dominated Islamic Republic government, the report calls on the United States to sanction officials responsible for serious violations of religious freedom.
The commission cites the continued persecution of religious and other minorities such as Baha’is, Christians, Sunnis, dervishes, as well as women and political dissidents.
It also reports that USCIRF has collected documents proving the persecution of Baha’is who serve in the public sector.
USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government advisory entity. The U.S. congress created the USCIRF to monitor, analyze and report on threats to freedom of religion.
The commission insists that the government in Iran continues to spread hatred against Baha’is and other religious minorities through state-run mediums and social media.
Meanwhile, the report has highlighted the situation of Iranian women who protest the so-called Islamic dress code and compulsory hijab in the country.
In 2019, the report says, all women who peacefully protested the compulsory hijab were summoned for questioning and many arrested.
The commission has urged the U.S. government to impose sanctions on government institutions and officials responsible for violating religious freedoms in Iran, freeze their assets and ban them from entering the United States.
Furthermore, USCIRF has called on the U.S. government to exert pressure on the Islamic Republic to release all prisoners of conscience across Iran.
“Iranian officials and clerics regularly call for the elimination of the State of Israel, and members of the Jewish community have been targeted based on real or perceived ties to Israel”, the report notes, adding that “In December 2018, a group of Evangelical Christians were also arrested and charged with promoting ‘Zionist Christianity.”’