The 600,000-watt transmitter -- designed to reach a high priority audience in Iran -- was initially slated to be operational by May 2008. But a two-year delay of the $5.2 million project meant "the powerful transmitter was not available following the June 12, 2009, disputed election in Iran, and it remains unavailable," the inspector general report notes.
"Existing medium-wave assets at the Kuwait transmitting station can reach only a narrow band of the western portion of Iran," the inspector general's report continues.
Iran's government has increasingly limited internet and media access inside Iran.
The delay comes amid a chill between Iran and the United States. That includes a tense standoff over the Obama administration's call for Tehran to halt its nuclear program. Iran has refused and insists its nuclear development is for only civilian uses.
The contractor, California-based Defense Contracting and Consulting, defaulted on paying local suppliers and employees and then left the job without completing it, according to the inspector general. The company's California headquarters did not respond to repeated CNN requests for comment.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. government agency that oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other broadcasting services, says problems with the Kuwait transmitter have been overcome, and predicts it will be beaming radio programs to more Iranians in the coming months. The agency claims ... >>>
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