EU threatens to act on jammed broadcasts

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European Union foreign ministers have urged Iran to stop jamming European satellite transmissions and threatened to retaliate.

Iranian authorities have been jamming foreign satellite broadcasts into their territory since late last year, affecting broadcasters such as the BBC and Deutsche Welle. Access to the Internet for Iranian citizens has also been interrupted.

The interference reached a height on 11 February, when Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 revolution. It blocked transmission of nearly 70 foreign broadcasts and the sharing of media files among Iranians filming street demonstrations.

"The European Union expresses its grave concern over measures taken by the Iranian authorities to prevent its citizens from freely communicating and receiving information through TV, radio satellite broadcasting and the Internet," ministers said in a statement adopted at a meeting in Brussels.

"The EU is determined to pursue these issues and to act with a view to put an end to this unacceptable situation."

The EU said it wanted Iran to live up to commitments it has made to the Swiss-based, UN-backed International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which oversees radio spectrums and coordinates the assigning of satellite orbits.

Senior ITU officials meet in Geneva from March 22-26 and may discuss ways of responding to Iran's interference, EU diplomats have said.