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[] Jamming of Telstar-12 by Iran / Cuba,

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WASHINGTON 21 Aug. (IPS) The Islamic Republic of Iran might lose one of his
very few friends in the world, namely the Marxist regime of Cuba which,
according to American officials, has officially informed them that Iranian
embassy in Havana was the source of jamming programs by the US-based Iranian
radio and television stations that are beamed to mainland Iran.
The jamming of Telstar-12, a commercial communications satellite orbiting at
15 degrees west, 22,000 miles above the Atlantic that carries programs from
the American government and by Iranian radio and televisions based in the
United States to mainland Iran began on 16 July, coinciding with the start
of a new wave of pro-democracy protest movement led by Iranian students
against the regime and its clerical leaders, resulting in the arrest of some
ten thousand protesters, most of them released afterward.
At first, it was believed that the Cuban government, acting on demand from
Iranian ayatollahs, was jamming the programs, mostly from Iranian radio and
television stations beamed to Iran, as the stations, based mostly in Los
Angeles, had attracted an impressive popularity in Iran.
Satellite-broadcasting experts said at the time that since Tehran could not
jam the Telstar-12 due to its stationary position, it made the request from
friendly Cuba, which could do it instead.
But on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said Havana had
informed them that the jamming was made by the Iranians in Cuba, using a
compound in the suburb of the capital belonging to the Iranian Embassy.

According to the source, the Cubans have shut down the facilities and
presented a protest note to the Iranian government in Tehran.
"Cuba informed us on August 3 that they had located the source of the
interference and had taken action to stop it", Jo-Anne Prokopowicz said.
"The government of Cuba informed us that the interference was coming from an
Iranian diplomatic facility", she said, adding: "We will be following this
up with Iran".
After denying that it was responsible for the jamming but pledging to
investigate the US complaints in mid-July, Cuba told the United States that
it had found the source and had acted to stop it, she said.
The news surprised many Iranian observers, doubting Fidel Castro's
"innocence" in the affair.
"Being a fully police state, it is difficult to believe that the Iranians
had introduced the sophisticated jamming equipments into Cuba without the
knowledge of the Cuban authorities", Dr. Shahin Fatemi, a veteran Iranian
political analyst told The Asia Times Online.
Noting that both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Marxist regime of Cuba
shared the "same mutual hate" towards Washington, Mr. Fatemi, who teaches
international economics at the American University of Paris added however
that if the information is correct, then it must be welcomed by all Iranians
opposed to the present theocracy.
In his view, the Cuban decision could also be viewed as a signal from the
Lider Masimo towards the Bush Administration, which has labelled the Islamic
Republic as an "evil State", alongside the Stalinist North Korea and the
regime of the deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hoseyn in Iraq.
According to Mr. Alireza Meybodi, a popular radio broadcaster at Radio Yaran
in Los Angeles, the Iranians authorities jam foreign broadcasts locally with
mobile equipments bought from Russia while using more sophisticated ones
installed in Cuba.
"This is quite obvious when we announce some of our programs beforehand,
like one very recently concerning an interview with Hojjatoleslam 
Khomeini, the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, which was filled with locally
produced parasite", he indicated, adding that most of the foreign-based
radio and television stations could be seen normally outside the capital.
In a series of interviews with international press and Iranian media abroad,
the young dissident cleric, who now lives in Iraq, has accused the Iranian
ruling ayatollahs of corruption, abuse of power, nepotism, despotism,
arbitrary detention and torture of political prisoners as well as total
disregard for both Islam and the Islamic revolution.
About a dozen of Persian-language television and radios, run by Iranians
opposed to the present Iranian regime are beamed towards Iran, where a
majority of the 70 millions inhabitants is made of men and women under 30,
thirsty of modern entertainment programs and news.
Though the regime has banned satellite dishes, it is estimated that more
than 2 million households, using small and easily concealed equipments,
receive the programs.
Iran said at the time that the US broadcasts into the country were
interference in its internal affairs and accused the US-based Iranian
opposition of inflaming the protests.
Though there was no official reaction from Iranian authorities to the Cuban
charges, but "Jomhoori Eslami" (Islamic Republic), a hard line newspaper
that belongs to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'I, the lamed leader of the Islamic
Republic quoted Thursday an unidentified source at the Foreign Affairs
Ministry as having denied the story, claiming it was part of Americans
smearing campaign against Iran. ENDS SATELLITE JAMMING 21803

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