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EU Calls for Iran to Halt Internet Censorship, Jamming

  • Lisa Bryant

The European Union has called for Iran to stop censoring the Internet and jamming European satellite broadcasts, but it has not said whether it will take punitive action if Tehran refuses.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have called for Iran to put an immediate end to its electronic interference - specifically jamming broadcasts coming from Europe.

Iran has been jamming foreign satellite broadcasts, including those from the BBC and VOA, since late last year. Ordinary Iranians also have problems accessing the Internet.

In a statement, the EU ministers said Iran is breaching freedom of expression commitments laid out in an international treaty it had signed.

But at a news conference, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton offered no details about what sanctions, if any, the bloc might impose. She said the specifics would be worked out later.

"We are very concerned about what is happening in terms of broadcasting," said Catherine Ashton. "We have not yet moved further forward in terms of what further actions to take. As you know, we remain very concerned about what is happening in Iran. And we remain very concerned to ensure the Security Council debate is able to take forward the issues more broadly of what needs to happen next."

Western governments are also concerned about Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Europe and Washington are pushing for tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran.

Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful aims, but many governments believe it is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Separately, Ashton condemned recent clashes in the West Bank between Palestinians and the Israeli military that left several people dead. She called for an investigation into the incidents.

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