Iranian authorities start cutting off news from the outside world

20 August 2006: Last week, police in Iran began going from building to building dismantling - or in most cases smashing satellite TV dishes, effectively cutting off all foreign television news and programming to homes and businesses. The campaign against satellite television reception was launched by the Minister for Culture and Islamic Orientation, Hassan Saffar HARANDI to allegedly stop the “West’s cultural offensive on Iran.” Although the campaign has been in existence for some time, satellite broadcasts in Iran were generally tolerated.

Western analysts believe that the implementation of the recent clampdown is to insure complete governmental control over news regarding Iran’s dispute with the international community over its nuclear program – and consider the timing somewhat ominous. Within the last few months, all news coverage about the Iranian nuclear dispute had to be filtered through the Supreme Council of National Security. Those who wanted news from non-governmental sources had to obtain news broadcasts from abroad. Now, with increased tensions and a looming deadline requiring Tehran to drop its uranium enrichment plans, the critical timing of the news blackout appears more than coincidental.

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