Iran’s Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei recently told a group of religious minority leaders in the country that they are safe and have always been under Iran’s watch.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, stated that based on Islamic teachings, followers of other religions should be treated with justice and fairness.
He went even further and added, “Muslims in Europe and America face death threats. There is a great propaganda campaign against them, and their places of worship are under constant attack.”
He claimed, “Such treatment of non-Muslims is nonexistent in the history of our Islamic regime. Even our hotheaded conservative youth do not allow themselves to attack a non-Muslim.”
Naturally, Khamenei’s statements hold no water whatsoever when stood up against the facts.
Such claims of tolerance of non-Islamic faiths by the Iranian Supreme Leader are made while a large number of religious minorities have been imprisoned and executed since the establishment of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Even religious minorities that are recognized in Iran’s constitution have been harassed, persecuted and marginalized since the early days of the Islamic Revolution, which has led to a mass migration of many religious minorities, especially Jews and Christians.
In 1979, when the Islamic Revolution took place, the Armenian-Iranian population was around 180 thousand. Comparing this number to the new census of the community, 60 percent of Armenian-Iranians have left the country. There has been a significant drop in the Iranian Jewish population as well.
Several United Nations special reports and resolutions have condemned the violation of Human Rights, especially the violation of the rights of religious minorities.
Also, Ahmad Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Iran, wrote in his report, “At least 307 religious minorities are being held in Iran’s prisons for their faith, including 136 Bahai’s, 19 Dervishes, 50 Christians, 90 Sunni Muslims, and two Zoroastrians.
In addition, Open Doors’ 2014 World Watch List ranked Iran among the ten countries where Christians are persecuted the most. Its 2013 list put Iran in the 9th spot, but in 2014 Iran was moved to the 7th spot.
Christians face persecution and death, while practitioners of the Baha’i faith lose all social rights and face execution. Sunni Muslims may not build their own mosques in Tehran.
There’s no word on what, if any, statistics and facts Khamenei attempted to use to back up his claims.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Bruce Stanfield