Iran considers ending satellite TV ban for cultural
TEHRAN, March 16 (AFP) - Iran's cultural and political elite may soon
be free to have satellite dishes to receive foreign television, Culture
Minister Ataollah Mohajerani said in a surprise announcement Tuesday.
He told reporters the government is considering overturning its four-year
ban on the devices for "elites" such as artists, professors,
journalists and high-ranking public officials.
"I can watch foreign television at work but am forbidden to do
so when I go home," Mohajerani said, citing the only current exemption
from the ban -- the Islamic republic's government buildings.
The Iranian parliament, dominated by conservatives, banned satellite
dishes in 1995 as part of its battle against "the assault of Western
But the prohibition has been ineffective despite the risk of stiff
fines and confiscation, and illegal dishes have sprouted from rooftops
and balconies of Tehran's wealthier northern neighborhoods in the past
Satellite television has been a frequent point of contention between
the regime's conservatives and reformers backing moderate President Mohammad
Mohajerani is a reformist close to the president and his wife Jamileh
Kadivar was elected to the Tehran municipal council last month, when pro-Khatami
candidates swept all 15 seats at stake.