US State Dept blasts new Iraq anti-homosexuality law as human rights threat

CAIRO (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said that a law passed by Iraq’s parliament on Saturday criminalizing same-sex relationships was a threat to human rights and freedoms and would weaken Iraq’s ability to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment.

"This amendment threatens those most at risk in Iraqi society. It can be used to hamper free-speech and expression and inhibit the operations of NGOs across Iraq," a State Department statement said.

Iraq's parliament passed a law on Saturday criminalizing same-sex relationships with a maximum 15-year prison sentence, saying the move aimed to uphold religious values. Rights advocates condemned the law as the latest attack on the LGBT community in Iraq.

(Reporting by Timour Azhari; Editing by David Gregorio)