Iran bans contact with 60 groups
Ban includes BBC, Human Rights Watch and Israel Radio. Veteran Persian-language broadcaster in Israel says this is not the first time Iran points the finger at media
Iran has banned its citizens from having contact with 60 organizations including the BBC, Human Rights Watch and opposition website Rahesabz as well as US-funded broadcasters, state media have reported.
The deputy intelligence minister in charge of external affairs said that the 60 blacklisted groups were suspected of being involved in efforts by Western governments to topple the Islamic regime as part of a “soft war” and that it was an offence to communicate with them.
“Any kind of contact by individuals or legal entities with those groups involved in the soft war is illegal and prohibited,” state media quoted the deputy minister as saying on Monday without giving his name.
The blacklisted organizations also included US government-funded Voice of America and Radio Farda as well as US-based pro-monarchist satellite channels, Israel Radio and the outlawed rebel People’s Mujahideen.
Veteran Persian-language Israel Radio broadcaster Menashe Amir commented on the ban in a talk with Ynet and said, “We have been broadcasting for nearly 20 years, and this is not the first time Iran’s leaders accuse us of encouraging the Iranian people to conduct a fight for its rights.
“This does not impact our policies. Every time there were riots in Iran or important date nearing, they would try to block foreign broadcasts and the internet.”
According to Amir, the Iranian intelligence ministry’s claims are “setting the foundations for the completion of the political-cultural coup that began after the presidential election.”We talk with listeners in and outside of Iran, and many get on the air and express their opinion against the regime in a free and assertive manner. These listeners live in all corners of Iran and present a cross section of every cultural and age group. Some of them demand Israel come and save the Iranian people.”
Jonathan Weber contributed to this report