First Published: 2003-07-03

Iran targets banned satellite TV owners

Iranian security forces carry out series of dish seizures in Tehran districts that were theatre of recent unrest.


Middle East Online

The ownership of satellite equipment is illegal in Iran

TEHRAN - Iranian security forces have carried out a series of raids targetting private owners of banned satellite dishes in areas of Tehran that were the scene of recent anti-regime protests, witnesses and reports said Thursday.

The official Iran newspaper said that for several days there has been "a new wave of dish seizures, particularly in districts that were the theatre of recent troubles," a reference to the June 10-20 student-led unrest.

The protests swelled after many residents of Tehran were urged to take to the streets by foreign-based opposition satellite television broadcasts.

The ownership of satellite equipment is illegal in the country, and the paper said offending households received court summons and fines ranging between one and five million rials (120 and 600 dollars).

Witnesses in one neighbourhood near Tehran University, the epicenter of the virulent protests, said many of the raids were carried out by plainclothes men who could be seen throwing dishes from rooftops.

Around a dozen opposition television stations beam Persian-language broadcasts into Iran. Most are run by sympathisers of the monarchy that was ousted in 1979.

The struggle by Iran's clerical leaders against the broadcasts also includes attempts to jam reception of the stations in the capital, where hundreds of thousands of people are believed to own dishes and receivers.


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