For the second year in a row, the United States has designated U.S. ally Saudi Arabia as one of the world's worst violators of religious freedom.
The Saudi kingdom was cited in the State Department's annual international religious freedom report, released on Tuesday.
The report names eight nations as "countries of particular concern," including Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam. Last year's list consisted of the same eight countries.
The report found fault with many other countries, including U.S. allies Israel and Pakistan, which it criticized for legal discrimination against religious minorities.
In remarks to reporters, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Vietnam has taken steps to improve religious freedom and could eventually be removed from the list if the improvement continues.
Countries on the list face the possibility of U.S. sanctions.