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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Tehran Intends To Outlaw Cooperation With The BBC Persian Service TV

Published Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tehran, 4 Nov. (IPS)         As the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) started running experimental programmes of its latest child, a television channel in Persian language covering Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance last week issued a statement outlawing “any form of cooperation between Iranian public or journalists with the BBC Persian television network”.

According to an official at the Ministry in charge of the foreign press, the launch of a Farsi ‎language television network by the BBC is a “suspicious, illegal act” and an outright “act of ‎interference” in Iranian affairs. ‎
However, despite the harsh tone of the statement, published by the pro Government Fars news agency, most Iranian political analysts are on the opinion that the statement is for domestic market and would not prevent independent Iranian journalists or scholars, experts, intellectuals and economists appearing on the new television.

“According to first hand reports received (here), unfortunately ‎England’s BBC Farsi television network, with its goal of setting up the base of its ‎activity (in Iran), has started to establish suspicious and unexplainable connections (with whom?) in total disregard of ‎relevant laws, and (while) is attempting to hire questionable individuals, its goals are ‎suspicious”, the Ministry announced, in reference to the great number of young and talented journalists the BBC’s Persian Television service has already taken on board in London. ‎

“Propping division and ethnic and religious tension ‎among various segments of society and creating conflict with national interests” is among ‎other accusations Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad’s Government laid against the BBC project.

Beside tens of private Persian television stations, the great majority of them Monarchists or against the present Iranian theocracy, based in Los Angeles, California, beaming pogrammes towards Iran by satellite, only the United States is operating a six hours daily television programme in Farsi language.

The Iranian statement accuses BBC of “performing illegal acts” in Iran and characterizes ‎individuals who plan to cooperate with this network as “people with a background of activities against the State’s security” and claims that the network’s attempts to establish connections ‎with people in Iran is “a clear instance” of acting against Iranian national interests and “points to the suspicious intentions of the BBC executives”.

 Actually, unlike the VOA’s Persian service television channel which is employing mostly journalists who worked with the Iranian radio and television before the Islamic revolution of 1979, the BBC has enlisted young journalists who worked with the Iranian media after the revolution and have been silenced or forced to leave the country by the authorities.

Thought the statement also reiterates that the public ‎opinion of Iran “is wary of BBC’s plan to establish a television network”, but journalists in Tehran says the reason the Iranian clerical-led authorities are firing their big guns against the BBC and warning Iranian journalists and private individuals against cooperating with the new television is rooted in their fear to see the new media becoming a serious competitor and challenger to their own public media which, because of lack of good journalists and a drastic censorship due to Islamic laws, is almost alien to most Iranian viewers.

Press tv
Iranian Radio and Television has a large office in London, employing journalists of various nationalities, including British female journalists.

For almost a century, and from the time that Britain was ruling over half of the world, Iranians, like most people under the British domination regarded the BBC as a major source of information, a kind of “oracle”. During the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the Persian service of the BBC played an important role by informing the public about the activities of the pro-Khomeini camp, to the point that the ousted Sha of Iran accused the BBC of participating in the “plot” against him.

The Iranian statement, which is the Islamic Republic’s first official response to the B.B.C’s ‎decision to launch a Farsi television network, reminds that England has “a negative ‎background in violating the sovereignty of independent governments and continues with its imperialistic ‎meddling in other countries’ affairs”.

“Propping division and ethnic and religious tension ‎among various segments of society and creating conflict with national interests” is among ‎other accusations Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad’s Government laid against the BBC project. ‎

Noting that the Iranian official statement is released a year after the state-owned Voice and Visage of the Islamic Republic of Iran (VVIR) established the international headquarters of its English language television network, "Press TV" in London, enlisting journalists from various nationalities, including British female journalists, observers said in case Tehran goes ahead with its decision to stop the BBC opening office in Tehran, the British Government can, in reciprocity, shut down the irreplaceable offices of Iranian Radio and Television in England.

Ahmadi Nezhad-6
Oservers say Iran government reaction to the BBC Persian television is for domestiv purpose

The regime has extended its fight against the BBC to incorporate the Revolutionary Guards, as Sobh-e Sadegh, the official organ of the ayatollah’s Praetorian Guard's political division described the recent launch of the BBC Farsi language ‎television network as the announcement of a "soft war" against the Islamic Republic.‎

“The BBC Farsi language ‎television network is scheduled to begin broadcasting programs for eight hours a day next ‎week", the Guards' political division said, adding: "Given the Islamic revolution enemies' goal of soft war against the Iranian ‎people, the lie-spreading network of BBC, which is run on the budget of the English ‎intelligence apparatus and its clear intention is to interfere in internal affairs of Iran, revolutionary forces must be aware of these plots against the Islamic Republic and the Muslim people of Iran". ‎

Sobh-e Sadegh also claimed, "Most of journalists and writers working for the Faris ‎language BBC television network are, according to reports, members of chain ‎newspapers." ‎

In order to better mount the Iranian public opinion against the project, the Fars news agency, which is close to both the Ahmadi Nezhad Administration and the Revolutionary Guards, quoted unidentified sources in London claiming that "The Baha’is have vast presence an influence in the BBC Farsi division", referring to a faith that despite having between 200.000 to 300.000 fellowship in Iran, is totally banned by the ruling ayatollahs and its members are subject to routine harassments, oppression, tortures and forces to change religion. ENDS BBC TV OUTLAWED 41108


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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

As the BBC television is starting to air experimental programmes of its new Persian service channel, the Iranian authorities say they would not allow Iranians cooperating with the network.

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