The Iranian government on Wednesday accused the United States of violating freedom of religion rights as promised in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment and that the U.S. has displayed acts of systematic discrimination against Muslims and other religious minorities. Iran claims that the U.S. is among the world's biggest violators of the religious freedom.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marziyeh Afkham, made her public accusations as an alleged retaliation for the recent report issued by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his staff on religious freedoms in globally in countries such as Iran.
“Such reports are... aimed at putting pressure on other countries. [The U.S. report] lacks validity,” Afkham told reporters in Tehran.
She then accused the U.S. government of justifying what she called "Israel’s brutal atrocities and crimes." While the American people and Israeli officials have voiced their disappointment in President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry's tepid support, the Iranian spokeswoman sees thing quite differently.
The [American's] all-out support for the Zionist regime’s actions and the unbelievable restrictions on the followers of the religions [who are] living in the occupied Palestinian territories and Washington's all-out support for... the occupying regime's recent aggression and crimes in the Gaza Strip have left no [sic]competence for the U.S. administration to judge or advice the other countries on religious freedoms and rights," Afkham said.
She then claimed that Iran’s own constitution and its laws recognize all religions and that the Iranian people are free to practice their own religions and maintain their own churches or temples of worship. The Iranian government news service claims that Iran's Constitution stipulates that religious minorities have the same rights to elect parliamentary representatives from their own religious denomination of they can vote for Muslim candidates.
Marziyeh Afkham then said that five seats in Iran's parliament are reserved for religious minorities. The current roster of non-Muslims who are Members of Parliament (MPs) is one Zoroastrian, one Jew and three Christians. She also said that as lawmakers in the Iranian parliament the non-Muslims possess the same powers as the Muslim MPs.
But American law enforcement official, Steve Trafficante, believes this condemnation is a perfect example of the "pot calling the kettle black."
"The fact that Iran, a country that has public hangings of 'infidels' and homosexuals, is lambasting the United States reaches the level of absurdity. If anything, the current administration -- and Bush's, too -- bends over backwards to avoid even the slightest verbal offense against Muslims," said Trafficante.