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US Says Iran, Burma Among Nations Restricting Religious Freedom


The U.S. State Department says religious freedom in Iran has deteriorated over the past year.

The department issued its annual report on religious freedom today.

Iran was among a list of eight nations the report says "engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom." Also on the list are Burma, China, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam.

The list is the same as last year, although the report notes that Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam have made improvements over the past year.

The report also notes that Israel, a U.S. ally, has taken actions that have limited Palestinians' access to their places of worship. At the same time, it notes the Palestinian Authority has not been able to stop what it calls incidents of "religious incitement."

The report is meant to help U.S. officials shape policy, conduct diplomacy and decide whether to help private groups promoting religious freedom in their countries.

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