The chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has downplayed Western sanctions against the country’s national broadcaster, stressing that the media corporation is unfazed by the embargo and committed to its mission.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting in the capital Tehran on Wednesday, Peyman Jebelli said the sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union in different forms have failed to stop the national broadcaster from continuing its work.
“Following the imposition of the sanctions, we sought to establish communications with non-European satellite providers," said the IRIB chief. "Our work has not stopped by any means."
He noted that the state broadcaster has been dealing with the issue of sanctions for years, stressing that the work needs to be done at two different levels in order to neutralize the West's restrictive measures.
“Firstly, executive bodies need to undertake their own tasks as regards legal and administrative challenges. We experience many difficulties in the production of programs and their subsequent broadcast,” Jebelli pointed out.
“After the European Union ordered European satellites not to provide any services to us and we (IRIB) were banned from operating on European satellites, we tried to establish good communications with non-European satellites.
“Thank God, we have managed to maintain the coverage of some of our flagship channels such as al-Alam and Press TV, but through non-European satellites,” the IRIB chief underlined.
In December last year, French satellite operator Eutelsat notified Press TV, the IRIB's flagship international news network, of its plan to take it off the air, weeks after the European Union imposed sanctions on the popular media network.
Taking strong exception to the measure, Press TV in a statement at the time denounced it as "media terrorism", and termed it “just one of the rings in the chain of measures designed to muzzle the only voice of Iranian people in the English-language media environment.”
The move came weeks after the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Jebelli, Head of the IRIB World Service and CEO of English-language Press TV television news network Ahmad Norouzi, the IRIB Vice Director General Mohsen Barmahani, Director of Press TV’s Programs Department Yousef Pour-Anvari, as well as the IRIB senior correspondents Ali Rezvani and Ameneh Sadat Zabihpour.
OFAC claimed that the IRIB had broadcast “hundreds of forced confessions of Iranian, dual national, and international detainees in Iran” during recent riots triggered by the death of a young woman in the capital Tehran.
The 22-year-old Mahsa Amini fainted at a police station in Tehran and was pronounced dead three days later in a hospital. An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization concluded that Amini’s death was caused by illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.
Rioters went on a rampage, brutally attacking security officers and causing massive damage to public property as Western powers, in particular the United States, provided support.
The IRIB World Service in general and Press TV in particular have played a remarkable role as the counterweight to Western propagandist media for years, demolishing and debunking their lop-sided and unfair coverage of Iran and the region.
In response, it has faced uninterrupted attacks from Western countries and West-controlled social media giants over the years.
On April 3, 2012, Munich-based media regulator BLM removed it from the SES Astra satellite, as it purportedly did not have a license to broadcast in Europe.
In July 2013, Press TV was forced off the air in the UK after the media regulator Ofcom revoked its license for allegedly breaching the Communications Act.
In the same year, it was taken off the air in North America after the US Treasury Department announced sanctions against the IRIB.
Press TV was also dropped from the Galaxy 19 satellite platform that allowed it to broadcast in the United States and Canada, without any notice.
Despite all these challenges and obstacles, Press TV continues to challenge Western narratives and provide cutting-edge journalism based on truth and fairness, earning the sobriquet of the "voice of the voiceless".