News / Middle East

US Grants Intelsat, Eutelsat New Waivers for Iran Channels

FILE- Iranian soldiers destroying satellite dishes with an army tank in the southwestern city of Shiraz. Iranian authorities carry out regular crackdowns to remove satellites from rooftops, and issue warnings against their use, Sept. 28, 2013.
FILE- Iranian soldiers destroying satellite dishes with an army tank in the southwestern city of Shiraz. Iranian authorities carry out regular crackdowns to remove satellites from rooftops, and issue warnings against their use, Sept. 28, 2013.

The U.S. government has authorized European satellite providers Intelsat and Eutelsat Communications an additional six-month waiver to broadcast Iranian programming after U.S. and European authorities had banned them from working with state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

The decision, taken earlier this month, was confirmed Thursday by a senior official from the International Broadcasting Bureau, the official support agency for all U.S. civilian international broadcasters.

The ban had prevented Iran’s 24-hour English-language news channel, Press TV, as well as its main Farsi-language channels, from reaching audiences abroad via the Luxembourg and French satellite companies.

“U.S. lawmakers imposed the ban to penalize Iran because it had allegedly filmed and aired forced confessions and jammed international satellite signals carrying news channels like the VOA’s [Persian News Network] and BBC Persian Television,” the IBB official said.

Unlike other sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear capabilities, these measures were imposed “because Iran had violated statues of the International Telecommunication Union,” the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, said the official, who asked not to be named because sensitive negotiations were continuing.

Last year, Iranian and U.S. diplomats reached an agreement that Tehran would stop all satellite jamming. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry then waived the ban for a six-month trial period that was extended this month.

“VOA is grateful to our own and European governments for working to prevent countries that jam satellites from having their own access to them, said VOA Director David Ensor.

“We hope Iran will allow its people free access to all news and information without interference,” he said.

Rights advocates urge continued ban

Rights groups, like the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, have presented evidence that the Islamic Republic has merely altered its method of jamming, while continuing to engage in it.

In a report released last month, the Campaign wrote that “instead of sending jamming signals directly to the broadcasting satellites, Iran has intensified its practice of local jamming.” This usually involves targeting rooftop satellite dishes with equipment moved around neighborhoods in trucks.

“The result is still the same,” the Campaign said. “The authorities are able to block all content at will. Persian-language news broadcasts such as BBC Persian, VOA Persian and Radio Farda are particularly targeted.”

But local, or “terrestrial,” jamming is far less effective than targeting satellites, a process known as “uplink” jamming, communications experts say.

Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebabi and the director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Hadi Ghaemi, have criticized European satellite companies for broadcasting “libelous programs” of Iran’s state-run media.

Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and former judge who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work promoting human rights in Iran, accused Western powers again last year of focusing too little attention on rights abuses as they pursue a deal with Tehran aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions.


Mark Snowiss

Mark Snowiss is a Washington D.C.-based multimedia reporter.  He has written and edited for various media outlets including Pacifica and NPR affiliates in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @msnowiss and on Google Plus

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AjaxLessome from: USA
August 29, 2014 8:27 PM
It's no surprise. I mean government officials have their own Satellite dishes,Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, yet those same platforms are blocked in Iran and if you are discovered posting anything remotely seen as negative, you can be arrested and imprisoned, as happened to a British woman who posted on Facebook and was sentenced to 20 years hard labor last month.


by: Kiumars from: Iran
August 29, 2014 12:25 PM
Oh, how nice of the USA! But I do not think Iran is going to make the same mistake and pay money to the American and European companies!
Have a nice day and a long dream!


by: hyu lee from: korea
August 28, 2014 7:27 PM
Is this a press release or a news story?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid