Iran denies charges of religious discrimination
Tehran, Oct 2 (IANS) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Thursday rejected the allegations of discrimination towards religious minorities in Iran, saying the whole Islamic country is a big unified family, the official IRNA news agency reported.
'Religious minorities enjoy full legal rights in Iran,' Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Majlis (parliament) deputies representing religious minorities in Iran.
'We all are Iranian and our relations are based on humanitarian principle. Religious minorities have lived in peace with us and even they have dedicated martyrs to the Islamic Revolution.'
'We are a big and unified family and seditious plots of the enemies cannot affect our relationships,' the Iranian leader said, dismissing the charges by the West of discriminatory policies by Iran towards religious minorities.
'The enemies (of Iran) play some games by claiming discord between Iran and religious minorities but these games will have no impacts as we are all part of the grand Iranian family,' he said.
Shia Muslims constitute the majority of Iran population, while Christian Armenians, Zoroasters, Assyrians and Jews are acknowledged as the religious minorities in the country.
The minorities also have five seats in the parliament, two for Armenians and the remaining three for Zoroasters, Assyrians and Jews.
Among the minorities, Jews have biggest challenge in Iran because of the country's anti-Israeli stance and its denial of the historic dimensions of the Holocaust during the Second World War.
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