John Kerry applauds Iran for their “religious tolerance” in 3… 2… 1…
(AINA) – Authorities in Tehran are planning to transform illegally-confiscated church grounds into an ‘Islamic prayer center.’
The land belonging to the Iranian Assyrian community’s Chaldean Catholic Church in Tehran’s Patrice Lumumba Street (in Western Tehran) was illegally confiscated two years ago under the pretext of constructing an Islamic prayer hall and the authorities have refused to hand it back, a member of the regime’s Majlis (Parliament) was quoted as saying by the state-run newspaper Sharq on Wednesday, December 30.
Repeated complaints about the illegal confiscation of the church grounds have fallen on deaf ears despite repeated pleas by the representatives of the Christian minority, said Jonathan Bet-Kelia, a member of the regime’s Majlis.
Bet-Kelia told Sharq that he had approached Ali Younesi, special assistant to the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani on ethnic minorities affairs, on this matter but was told that nothing could be done about it. Younesi is a former Minister of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and is personally responsible for ordering numerous arrests and assassinations of dissidents.
Commenting on the regime’s admission that it had usurped church grounds to build its own prayer hall, Ali Safavi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said: “The brazen admission displays first and foremost the discriminatory and sectarian policies of the regime vis-Ã -vis Iran’s religious minorities. At the same time, it speaks to the failure of Western policy to accommodate the regime in the futile hope that it will promote moderation and tolerance on the domestic front.”
Under the banner of Shiite Islam, the ruling clerics have systematically suppressed people of different faiths and even denied the minority Sunni Muslim population their basic rights.