The State Department, in a report being released Tuesday, cites Saudi Arabia and seven other countries as restricting religious freedom.
The report was being issued as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prepares to travel to Saudi Arabia at the end of the week as part of a trip to the Middle East, and could be an irritant in her talks with Saudi officials.
In September, Rice postponed punishing the Saudis with trade or other restrictions by giving the kingdom 180 days to show it has made progress in its treatment of religious minorities.
The seventh annual report to Congress on religious freedom was delayed for more than a month, giving rise to speculation there might be major revisions in last year's findings, which for the first time included Saudi Arabia.
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