The Islamic Republic of Iran feels duty bound to protect religious minorities and their freedom to practice their religion of choice, on December 27 Sharq newspaper quoted Ali Younesi, a special assistant to the president for ethnic and religious minorities, as saying.
The following is the translation of what else Younesi said on December 26 in a Tehran church for Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, marking the birth anniversary of Jesus:
Any disrespect by a Muslim for Jesus Christ (Peace Be upon Him) amounts to conscious abandonment of Islam by a Muslim.
The ceremonies to celebrate the birth anniversary of Jesus do not exclusively belong to Christians; rather, all Iranians – including Muslims – celebrate this joyful occasion.
Iranian Christians can take pride in the fact that they welcomed Christianity much earlier than the Romans and the Europeans, and this proves the intelligence of the Iranians.