Head of Armenian Church in Iran Dismisses US Report On Religious Minorities

TEHRAN (IRNA)–Archbishop of Iran’s Armenian Church Sibouhe Sarkissian dismissed as "unsubstantiated" a joint report prepared by the US Secretariat Department and Congress regarding the situation of the religious minorities in Iran.

In a recent interview with the Arab-language Paris-based weekly Al-Watan al-Arabi–he said the report was in contrast with the present realities in Iran adding that the Armenian community is enjoying all the religious–intellectual and political rights in Iran.

Sarkissian went on to say that the Iranian Armenia’s are running and enjoying the services offered by many hospitals–restauran’s–libraries while disposing of more than 30 churches–25 schools where lectures and lessons are presented in Armenian.

The right of practicing religious rituals and leading their own lifestyle are fully observed in Iran and the Iranian Armenia’s have felt true freedom in the post-Revolution period–he remarked.

The Iranian Armenia’s live in a society where religious lenience prevails–he said adding that the US claims that the religious minorities’ rights are trampled on are not correct. He said the American report was just aimed at disturbing the public opinion among the Christians worldwide and provoke them against Iran.

He denied the report by the Americans–saying they are only after their own interests and do not judge the issue in an impartial way. He called the United States "the biggest colonialist of the world".

He said that the living condition of the Iranian Armenian has remarkably improved since the 1979 Islamic Revolution victory.

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