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Iran destroys 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers

Under Iranian law, satellite equipment is banned and those who distribute, use, or repair them can be fined up to Dh10,284.
Satellite dishes and receivers are piled up before being destroyed in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on July 24, 2016. Hossein Zohrevand/Tasnim News/AFP
Satellite dishes and receivers are piled up before being destroyed in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on July 24, 2016. Hossein Zohrevand/Tasnim News/AFP

TEHRAN // Iran destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers on Sunday as part of a crackdown against the illegal devices that authorities say are morally damaging.

The destruction of the dishes and receivers took place in Tehran in the presence of General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, head of Iran’s Basij militia.

“The truth is that most satellite [television] channels ... deviate the society’s morality and culture,” he said, according to the Basij News website.

“What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society.”

Gen Naghdi said a total of one million Iranians had already voluntarily handed over their satellite apparatuses to authorities.

Under Iranian law, satellite equipment is banned and those who distribute, use, or repair them can be fined up to US$2,800 (Dh10,284).

Iranian police regularly raid neighbourhoods and confiscate dishes from rooftops.

Culture minister Ali Jannati pleaded on Friday for a revision of the law.

“Reforming this law is very necessary as using satellite is strictly prohibited, but most people use it,” Mr Jannati said.

“This means that 70 per cent of Iranians violate the law” by owning satellite dishes.

Gen Naghdi criticised Mr Jannati’s comments and said those in charge of cultural affairs “should be truthful with people rather than following what pleases them”.

“Most of these satellite channels not only weaken the foundation of families but also cause disruptions in children’s education and children who are under the influence of satellite have improper behaviour,” GenNaghdi said.

There are dozens of foreign-based Farsi satellite channels broadcasting mostly news, entertainment, films and series.

Conservatives regularly denounce the channels as an attempt to corrupt Iranian culture and Islamic values.

Moderate president Hassan Rouhani, whose four-year mandate ends in June 2017, has repeatedly said that the ban on satellite dishes is unnecessary and counterproductive.

* Agence France-Presse

Updated: July 24, 2016 04:00 AM

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