Intelsat to pull plug on Iranian channels

Intelsat to pull plug on Iranian channels
Sat Jun 29, 2013 18:30:47

On July the first, the European communications satellite service provider Intelsat will remove Iranian channels, including Press TV, off the air as part of an unprecedented wave of US-led attacks against Iranian media.

Intelsat has admitted it is pulling the plug under pressure from the United States. The satellite provider says it sought a waiver from Washington to extend the term of its agreement with Iranian channels, but the US government said no!

Intelsat is owned by an American equity firm, and is legally based in Bermuda. The company operates out of Washington D.C. and Luxembourg. Reports suggest the Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, an agency of the US Treasury Department, is also behind the pressure on Intelsat.

Since last October Michel de Rosen, the CEO of France’s state-owned Eutelsat, has become one of the point men in the global campaign against Iranian media, repeatedly lobbying the satellite industry to shut down the Iranian press.

Tehran has repeatedly protested, saying the move violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Along with many NGOs and independent groups, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders is yet to take a stand against the move.

European governments and satellite companies have been taking Iranian channels off the air since January 2012, citing the West's anti-Iran sanctions as pretext. This is while the spokesman for the EU foreign policy chief, Michael Mann, says sanctions do not apply to Iranian media.

Experts say that the modern telecommunications industry makes it virtually impossible for Iran to be completely silenced. Iran has been able to find new satellite providers, and use the internet, to diffuse their unique point of view.

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