The United States continues to build up its pressure on Iran’s English-language news network Press TV and in a new move has sought to pull the Tehran-based television channel off the airwaves in Afghanistan.
Press TV has learned that the US Consulate in Herat, situated more than 800 kilometers (miles) west of Kabul, has asked the cable television provider in the city to immediately remove Press TV from its platform.
A senior official from the diplomatic mission has even met the managing director of the cable TV provider in Herat, and offered him three times more than the amount of the money paid by Press TV.
He then asked the Afghan agency to pull the plug on the Iranian English-language news network, and replace it with Western media outlets CNN and BBC.
This is the first time that US officials are asking Afghan cable television providers to cease operations of Press TV since the international news network went on air in Afghanistan four years ago.
On June 19, Intelsat announced that it will no longer provide services to Iranian channels including Press TV. The decision has been made under the pretext of the company’s abiding by illegal sanctions against the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
Intelsat noted that it has been ordered by the US government to avoid extending IRIB’s license, noting that it will stop providing services as of July 1.
Press TV has learned that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – an agency of the US Treasury Department headed by an Ashkenazi Jew called Adam Szubin – is behind the pressure on Intelsat.
Press TV and other Iranian channels have come under an unprecedented wave of attacks by European governments and satellite companies since January 2012.
They have been taken off the air in several Western countries, including Britain, France, Germany and Spain.
European companies say they are abiding by anti-Iran sanctions. However, EU foreign policy chief’s spokesman, Michael Mann, has told Press TV that sanctions do not apply to media.
In the meantime, the French-Israeli CEO of Europe’s satellite giant, Eutelsat, has written letters to several satellite companies, asking them to stop cooperating with Iranian channels.
The Israeli lobby in the United States has also publicly supported European attempts to shut down Press TV.
Media activists call the attacks on Iranian channels a campaign against free speech launched by the same European governments that preach freedom of expression.