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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (3)
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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid