Iran’s controversial Press TV channel is no longer carried by the world’s major satellite operators. July 1st saw its last transmissions which have meant that Press TV’s regular complaints have escalated over the past few days.
Iran’s minister of Communications & Information, Mohammed Hassan Nami, in an interview on July 2nd, says he will be raising the issue with the United Nations in New York. He argued that Intelsat, in particular, was unjustified in taking Press TV down. There is now talk of Press TV suing, arguing breaches of contract. A meeting with the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (ITSO), of which Intelsat is a member, is scheduled for July 11th to discuss the issue. ITSO has already asked Intelsat to restore the channels pending dialogue.
Press TV’s News Director Hamid Reza Emadi says a wave of attacks launched by international satellite companies against Iranian channels violates human rights and freedom of speech. “The attacks that started 18 months ago against Press TV and other Iranian outlets are unprecedented in the history of media. Never before in media history have we seen multiple countries targeting the media outlets of one nation on this scale,” Emadi said at a news conference at Press TV’s headquarters in Tehran on Tuesday.
Intelsat has not deviated from its position throughout. It stands by earlier statements, which say: “”Intelsat adheres strictly to the US sanctions requirements with respect to the services it provides in Iran. Intelsat Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary) holds an OFAC licence to provide satellite capacity and managed services to certain named customers in Iran. Our historical obligations to serve Iran are related to our former status as an intergovernmental organization,” said a company spokesman.
OFAC refers to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, an agency of the US Treasury Department. OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals. It also has the authority to grant exemptions to prohibited transactions.
Eutelsat and SES have also taken down Press TV.