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Jamming Communications

President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami and parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi called a stop to a reported project in Tehran to jam satellite broadcasts, IRNA reported on 22 April 2003. Following a discussion in parliament on the issue, the president and speaker issued a directive calling for identifying and taking action against those responsible for the jamming. At the parliament meeting, officials said that "a certain military organization," otherwise unidentified, is transmitting powerful jamming signals from several of its bases in Tehran as well as from mobile units installed on trucks. The report, which originally appeared in the 22 April edition of the reformist daily "Hambastegi," did not identify the offending broadcasts, which likely are Persian-language television programs originating from Los Angeles and other foreign cities. In an apparent effort to avoid controversy over whether the contents of the broadcasts warranted jamming, opponents of the project are stressing that the jamming transmissions are harmful to citizens' health, causing, among other things, infertility.

Parliamentarian Ali-Akbar Musavi-Khoeni, who is the deputy chairman of the legislature's Telecommunications Committee, announced in the 26 April 2003 issue of "Abrar" newspaper that the source of the jamming signals has been identified, IRNA reported. He said the Ministry of Post, Telegraph and Telephone had tracked the source, and added that the parliamentarians have decided not to name the offending organization so the issue does not become politicized. If the jamming does not stop, he said, the organization will be named. Musavi-Khoeni added that several government institutions are looking into the possible public-health impact of the jamming signals.




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