GENEVA, (Reuters) – The United Nations’ leading communications agency called on Iran on Friday to end jamming of foreign satellite broadcasts, saying such action is prohibited under its global regulations.
“The (International Telecommunication Union) Radio Regulations Board urged … Iran to continue its effort in locating the source of interference and to eliminate it as a matter of the highest priority,” the ITU said, referring to interference with Eutelsat ETL.PA, a French satellite operator.
Iranian authorities have been jamming foreign satellite broadcasts into their territory since late last year, with broadcasters such as the BBC and Deutsche Welle affected. Access to the Internet for Iranian citizens has also been affected.
“No one is allowed to block signals, that is clear,” ITU spokesman Sanjay Acharya told a news briefing. “Iran has not admitted it is sending out these signals that are interfering with Eutelsat. They have said they will investigate.”
Iranian authorities have been clamping down on reformists since last year’s June presidential election returned hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power, sparking protests and clashes.
Iran has blamed other nations for stoking unrest.
The ITU board said that “the interfering signals appear to be of a nature which is prohibited under radio regulations no. 15.1”, according to the ITU statement.
France put the item on the agenda of closed-door talks at the 12-member experts board and provided evidence that there were signals from Iran which interfered with Eutelsat, it said.
The board has no policing powers to enforce its decision, but its public appeal is expected to put pressure on Iran, which is one of 191 ITU member states, to stop the practice, Acharya said.