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EU Foreign Ministers Call On Iran To End Broadcast Jamming


Internet censorship banner in Iran
EU foreign ministers have called on Iran to end its jamming of outside media and other censorship, but failed to agree on concrete measures.

In a statement, the ministers condemned Tehran's jamming of satellite broadcasting and Internet censorship and called on authorities to "put an end to this electronic interference immediately."

The bloc's 27 ministers said the EU was "determined to pursue these issues and to act with a view to put an end to this unacceptable situation."

The EU high representative for foreign policy, Catherine Ashton, said no specific EU countermeasures have been decided.

"We are very concerned about what's happening in terms of broadcasting [in Iran]," Ashton said. "We haven't yet moved further forward in terms of what further action to take. As you know, we remain very concerned about what is happening in Iran."

EU sources say the Netherlands in particular had asked for concrete action to ban the imports of technology to Iran that could be used to carry out Internet or mobile-telephony censorship.

In recent months, Iranian authorities have blocked access to Germany's Deutsche Welle, Voice of America's Persian News Network, and BBC World's Persian-language broadcasts. (RFE/RL complained in a press release shortly after Iran's election in June that authorities there were "trying to severely restrict" broadcasts by RFE/RL's Radio Farda, and the organization continues to experience jamming of its programming.)

Scores of journalists have been arrested in Iran since unrest erupted following the disputed presidential vote.

Ashton said the EU's statement will feed into the broader debate in the UN Security Council over possible additional sanctions in response to Iran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The situation in Iran is also likely to be addressed by EU leaders at their summit in Brussels on March 25-26.