Vatican Praises Religious Freedom in Islamic Republic

TEHRAN A research association affiliated to the Vatican government which monitors religious freedom reported on Thursday that religious minorities enjoy freedom of religion and are treated well in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The report appears in a book entitled Report of the Year 2001 on Religious Freedom in the World, published by an association named the Churches Which Suffer. It was read in a gathering in Rome Thursday.

One of the compilers of the report praised the trend of religious activities in Iran and said that Christians in Iran can freely choose their religious schools and instructors themselves and that the government does not interfere.

He added that the situation of religious minorities in Iran is good and that the Iranian government does not pressure them.

The association monitors the religious freedom and treatment of Christians, especially Catholics, in different countries, even in the U.S. and Italy. Many countries were criticized for their treatment of religious minorities.

The report gave a positive view of the situation in Iran. It wrote that minority rights are guaranteed by Iran's Constitution.

The followers of different religions, whose ancestors resided in Iran even before the advent of Islam, live a free life in Iran, especially from a cultural and religious point of view, it said.

The report added that religious minorities in Iran have representatives in the Majlis. The Iranian Christians and Jews have free access to the publications of the association, it said.