Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:57AM
The Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) has taken all Iranian channels off air in East Asia. The satellite provider says the decision to stop providing services to all Iranian channels is in line with a US law recently signed by President Barack Obama. On Friday, Obama renewed America's 33-year-old state of emergency against Iran, which gives the president the power to impose sanctions and take other measures in case of an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy” of the United States. According to the new sanction regime, American companies are banned from doing business with Iran. Nearly 37 percent of AsiaSat’s shares are owned by the General Electric which itself is owned by an American company. This is not the first time that satellite providers remove Iranian channels off the air. In a flagrant violation of the freedom of speech, two satellite providers Eutelsat SA and Intelsat SA stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels in October, citing pressure by the European Union. The EU has, however, denied the claims by the European satellite companies. AR/HJL/MA