Persecution of religious minorities has increased since the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani despite his promises to grant them more rights, a new report has found.
According to the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom,
an increased number of religious minorities have been jailed under Rouhani.
"The government of Iran continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused," the commission said in its report.
"Since his June 2013 election, President Hassan Rouhani has not delivered on his campaign promises to strengthen civil liberties for religious minorities."
Rouhani had declared that year that "all ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice," the Washington Free Beacon reported,
adding that the comments had left the impression that he would be a more moderate leader.
Baha'is, Christian converts, Sunni Muslims, Jews, and Zoroastrians are among the groups suffering abuses in Iran. Some have faced the death sentence and execution for committing "enmity against God" in the Islamic Republic.
Illinois GOP Sen. Mark Kirk, whose state hosts one of the only seven Baha'i temples in the world, introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning Iran for religious repression.
Kirk has pushed for sanctions against the Iranian regime and lobbied the Obama administration to expand financial penalties against the country for human-rights abuses.
"If the Obama administration wants to be serious about holding Iran accountable, it should be working with Congress to reinforce and expand sanctions that target Iran's ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom and human rights," Kirk recently told Fox News. "
But it’s not."
On the Senate side, Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio recently proposed an amendment to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act that would prevent the Obama administration from giving Iran relief on sanctions related to terrorism or human-rights abuses, but it failed to get added to the bill, the Free Beacon reported.
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