All “illegal” towers used by the government to jam satellite television signals around Tehran will be dismantled, Masumeh Ebtekar, the chief of the Environmental Protection Agency announced Sunday.
The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) quoted her as telling reporters; “The new satellite jamming towers that have been erected in Tehran without permission and all those that are not set up according to regulations will be dismantled.”
She gave no hint as to how many towers she wanted to dismantle or how many would be left up because they were erected “according to regulations.”
Ebtekar’s announcement, however, was the first assault on satellite jamming by the new Rohani Administration.
Thirty-four years ago, Ebtekar was “Mary,” the spokeswoman for the stu∂ents who seized the US embassy. She was chosen becaue of her perfect English, learned attending elementary school near Philadelphis.
It is assumed the jamming towers have been installed by the Pasdaran, so Ebtekar is likely to find herself in a big fight.
To many, it does not appear that Ebtekar has a solid legal basis for her stand. Legislation approved by the Majlis in the 1990s bars the reception of any foreign radio or television broadcasts. Reformists have long denounced the law, both as an interference with public rights and as a futile effort.
The majority of Iranians are estimated to have access to foreign broadcasts as satellite reception dishes crowd the rooftops of Tehran apartment houses despite frequent efforts by the police to bring them down.
In recent years, an added complaint has been that the jamming towers emit signals that adversely impact public health.
It isn’t known how many such jamming towers there are, but the public widely believes that the flagpoles installed by the government in large numbers in recent years are actually jammers.
Jamming towers emit broadcast signals that are intended to overlay and blot out the signals that carry television broadcasts from abroad.