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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs