ITU speaks out against satellite jamming "clearly from Iranian territory," but can't impose sanctions for now.

Posted: 28 Mar 2010   Print   Send a link
"The U.N. telecommunications agency says Iranian jamming of international satellite broadcasts is 'forbidden' and has ordered the Islamic republic to clear the interference. The International Telecommunication Union stopped short Friday of blaming the government for the jamming, but said the source was clearly from Iranian territory. ITU said Friday it was acting on a complaint from France, representing satellite provider Eutelstat. ... ITU has no effective means to enforce its order." AP, 26 March 2010.
     "'In this case there is evidence that there is a deliberate attempt to block the satellite transmissions and so they are saying this should be stopped. This is prohibited under the regulations,' 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,' he added. ... 'This is the first time that the radio regulations board has had to take this step,' Acharya told Reuters, noting that the case involved a 'deliberate attempt to block a signal.'" Reuters, 26 March 2010.
     "Acharya acknowledged that the ITU could not impose any sanctions against Tehran before its next world congress in some two years' time. 'What we can do at this moment is to add pressure on the government of Iran,' he said." AFP, 27 March 2010.
     "The ITU said in a statement that after looking at evidence provided by Eutelsat, it had concluded that the satellite operator had been targeted by interference that 'appeared to be emanating from the territory of Iran' and noted that 'the interfering signals appear to be of a nature that is prohibited under Radio Regulations No. 15.1'. The ITU used the statement to urge the Iranian government to "continue its effort in locating the source of interference and to eliminate it as a matter of the highest priority." Roger Field,, 28 March 2010.
     "In a delicately worded statement apparently designed not to antagonize Iranian authorities, the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said it accepted the findings of the French National Frequencies Agency concluding that the interference to Eutelsat signals, particularly those from the BBC reporting on Iranian politics, is coming from Iranian territory. ... Eutelsat Chief Executive Michel de Rosen, who assumed his post less than a year ago, told the Satellite 2010 conference in Washington on March 16 that he is 'not overly impressed by what regulators have done so far. How can they put more teeth into the effort, where we don’t have the typical United Nations approach to life, where you send an ambassador to say, "You really shouldn’t be doing this?"' de Rosen asked. 'Welcome to the industry,' responded Daniel S. Goldberg, chief executive of satellite fleet operator Telesat of Canada and a satellite communications veteran. 'Short of a pre-emptive strike,' Goldberg said, persuasion and negotiations are the only tools available to prevent frequency interference." Peter B. de Selding, Space News, 26 March 2010.
     "'If the Iranians are allowed to jam any channel and get away with it, others in other countries will begin to do the same. It's a recipe for chaos,' Behrouz Afagh, the BBC World Service's director of the Asia and Pacific region, told The Scotsman." Michael Purcell, The Scotsman, 23 March 2010.
     "There is someone on the Iranian space team who must be feeling increasingly uncomfortable as this situation drags on. He is Ahmad Talebzadeh, head of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA), which is preparing to launch three satellites, named Tolou, Mesbah-2 and Navid. Talebzadeh finds himself in a very awkward position as Iran decides to go on ignoring the rising tide of protests that are emanating from Europe and the US over Iran's practice of jamming satellite broadcasts. This activity is possibly placing Talebzadeh's successful climb up the career ladder - both at home and abroad - in jeopardy. He did not respond to e-mails from Asia Times Online. Besides serving as ISA chief, Talebzadeh is a very visible figure in the global satellite arena. He serves as the current chair of the UN legal sub-committee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). He is also in charge of the Department of External Relations and Legal Affairs for the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), which is headquartered in Beijing. Pay close attention to 'legal' in both of his titles here." Peter J. Brown, Asia Times, 25 March 2010.
     The project at The Century Foundation and the National Security Network recommends: "●Use Sanctions, Technology to Counter Satellite Jamming The Islamic Republic sends jamming signals to commercial satellites, disrupting their broadcasts. Many commercial satellites are reluctant to host Persian- language television channels fearing their satellites might get attacked. These satellites can be jammed because uploads and downloads are sent on a fixed frequency. Newer commercial and military satellites, however, are built to resist such jamming with noise filtering and anti-jamming equipment. ●Levy sanctions on foreign and Iranian companies actively involved in helping the Iranian government's satellite jamming. Prominent Western satellite firms are helping the government block Iranians' access to foreign news networks such as the BBC, VOA, and German television, and providing satellite services to the Islamic Republic of Iran's Broadcasting (IRIB), such as IntelSat and EUtelSat of France. ●Dedicate a hardened satellite to host Iranian channels. This would enable effective Persian news services, such as BBC Persian and Voice of America, to escape the Islamic Republic's routine jamming efforts. This is one of the most important measures that can be undertaken by the U.S. government in order to ease the free flow of information to Iran. ●Facilitate the provision of high-speed Internet via satellite. The regime deliberately has slowed the internet to reduce the time in which Iranians can communicate and read the internet. Making alternative satellites available-aside those used by the regime-could allow Iranians to have high-speed Internet. ●Broadcast digital content via satellite to millions of users in Iran. This is less expensive than the two-way satellite connection discussed above. One-way content delivery would permit the transmission of popular websites, such as YouTube, to users inside the country.", 23 March 2010. See previous post about same subject.
     "Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari ... told audience members gathered for the Index on Censorship awards ... In the days of satellite and broadcast television, Facebook, Google and Twitter, the Iranian government wants to change the tide of history. It wants to take Iran back to the era of shortwave radio and terrestrial television - media they can easily control and censor. A wise government would listen to the voices of its own people; the Iranian government shoots the messenger." Laura Oliver,, 26 March 2010. Actually, shortwave, though no longer especially popular in Iran, is the most difficult to control because of the physical tendency of shortwave signals to travel more effectively over long rather than short distances.