Iran Eying Venezuelan Satellite to Broadcast Off-Air Channels

Iran Eying Venezuelan Satellite to Broadcast Off-Air Channels

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s ambassador to Caracas conferred with Venezuelan authorities on the use of the Latin American’s ‘Simon Bolivar’ satellite to broadcast the Iranian channels that have been banned by the European satellite providers.

Iranian envoy to Caracas Hojjatollah Soltani met a high-ranking Venezuelan telecommunication manager to determine whether it would be possible for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) to use Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar satellite for transmission of the Iranian channels that have been taken off the air.

This comes after the French company globecast in April halted the broadcast of Iran’s Spanish-language Hispan TV on an SES satellite in Latin America, in line with the Western campaign against free speech.

Europe's SES-Astra had ordered the French company to halt Hispan TV's broadcast.

If agreed upon, the telecommunication cooperation between Tehran and Caracas will enable Iran to broadcast Hispan TV through Simon Bolivar satellite.

“We are tasked with studying the details about the necessary technical coordination for this cooperation, so that in the second step of the negotiations, the practical ways for such cooperation would be discussed,” the Venezuelan official said.

Since January 2012, European satellite providers have launched a concerted campaign to silence Iran’s international broadcasters.

In January, the Spanish government ordered Madrid’s regional government to stop the broadcast of Hispan TV as of January 21.

The move came a month after the Spanish satellite company, Hispasat, terminated the terrestrial broadcast of Hispan TV.

Hispasat is partly owned by Eutelsat, whose French-Israeli CEO is blamed for the recent wave of attacks on Iranian media in Europe.

The European communications satellite service provider Intelsat decided to remove Iranian channels, including Press TV, as of July 1, 2012, as part of an unprecedented wave of US-led attacks against Iranian media.

Intelsat has admitted that its decision to suspend services to Iranian channels was in line with orders from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), of the US Department of Treasury.

Europe’s top satellite service Eutelsat also barred 19 Iranian television and radio channels from broadcasting in Europe.

However, the European Union has denied the claims by the European satellite companies.