U.S. criticizes Iran for religious persecution
Reuters / Richard Cowan; Editing by Peter Cooney

The United States voiced growing concern on Friday about Iran's "ongoing persecution" of religious minorities, including Baha'is, and called on Tehran to protect human rights at home.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a statement that at least 25 Baha'is were detained recently and as many as 60 were now imprisoned in Iran "solely on the basis of their religious beliefs."

A group of Baha'i leaders on trial for espionage were being denied access to their lawyers, Crowley said.

He added that Iranian authorities had detained more than a dozen Christians, "some of whom are being held in custody without substantiated charges."

"The United States is increasingly concerned about Iran's ongoing persecution of Baha'is and other religious minority communities," Crawley said.

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