Iran, N. Korea Among Worst for Religious Freedom

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Iran and North Korea were among the world's top offenders of religious persecution, according to the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom released Monday.

The report looks at how governments in 198 countries and territories around the world protect or fail to protect religious freedoms.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented the findings and applauded the Philippines and Jordan for their role in promoting interfaith dialogue and religious pluralism.

She stressed the fact that religious freedom is not just an American value, but a universal one.

"Religious freedom provides a cornerstone for every healthy society," Clinton said. "It empowers faith-based service. It fosters tolerance and respect among different communities. And it allows nations that uphold it to become more stable, secure and prosperous."

Clinton encouraged existing religious freedom movements to continue their work protecting the right for individuals to believe or not to believe.

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