MPs blast Mike Pence’s allegations, stress Iran’s respect for religious minorities

FNA – Representatives of Iranian religious minorities at the Parliament in a statement on Sunday lashed out at US Vice-President Mike Pence for his allegations, and underlined that the religious minorities in Iran enjoy complete freedom.

“The recent remarks by US Vice-President Mike Pence and US Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo about the rights of religious minorities in Iran are fully baseless and do not conform to the existing realities,” the statement said.

It underscored that the religious minorities are free to practice their religious rituals and enjoy social rights and cultural freedom based on Iran’s Constitution, adding that the country has paved a proper ground for them for peaceful coexistence and growth.

The statement rapped the US government’s silence on the violation of the rights of the Shiite community in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and massacre of the Muslims in Myanmar, Yemen and Gaza, which they said is an indication of the US leaders’ non-commitment to religious freedom and human rights laws.

In relevant remarks last year, Representative of Iranian Assyrians at the Parliament Yonatan Betkolia underlined that the religious minorities in Iran enjoy complete freedom.

“These freedoms are to such an extent that it is not comparable with any regional country; they include freedom in all cultural, educational, social and religious aspects of the religious minorities residing in Iran,” Betkolia said.

He said the Assyrian community has been living peacefully in Iran for over 3,000 years which shows the peaceful nature of the Iranians.

Also, in December 2016, Archbishop of Eastern Iran’s Assyrians Marenresay Benyamin underlined that the religious minorities in Iran enjoy complete freedom.

“We thank God that we live in a safe country like Iran; there is security for all Iranians These freedoms are to such an extent that it is not comparable with any of the regional countries; they include freedom in all cultural, educational, social and religious aspects of the religious minorities residing in Iran,” Betkolia said.

He reiterated that the Iranian Assyrians enjoy high level of safety in all Iranian cities, including Tehran, Fardis, Karaj, Orumieh, Salmas, Ahvaz, Shahinshahr, Hamedan and other cities where Assyrians live in Iran.

He said the Assyrian community has been living peacefully in Iran for over 3,000 years which shows the peaceful nature of the Iranians.