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July 8, 2018 1:25 pm

Iranian Dissidents, Former Political Prisoners, Urge Sec of State Pompeo to Sanction Tehran Regime’s Official Broadcaster

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Iranian dissidents are urging the US to sanction Iran’s state broadcaster for its role in human rights abuse. Image: via @SalmanSima, Twitter

More than 50 Iranian dissidents and former political prisoners have urged US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to enforce sanctions against IRIB, the Iranian regime’s official broadcaster.

The regime’s main propaganda arm, IRIB was exempted from US sanctions by a  2013 waiver – the result of a side agreement in which Tehran undertook not to jam outside broadcasts. That waiver, however, expires on Thursday. The Iranian dissidents told Pompeo in their letter that the regime “continues to interfere with satellite broadcasting into Iran by the practice of terrestrial jamming.” The sanctions waiver on IRIB should “be revoked or allowed to expire,” the letter said.

The dissidents highlighted IRIB‘s role in perpetrating the Iranian regime’s systematic abuses of human rights.

As a new wave of protests has emerged in Iran in recent weeks, “Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has played, and continues to play, a central role in the human rights abuses perpetrated in Iran,” the letter said. As with previous protests, IRIB‘s reporting of the latest anti-regime demonstrations “began by not reporting the protests; then defamed protesters by labeling them foreign agents, terrorists, drug addicts and criminals; then later broadcasted numerous forced confessions supporting such false labels; and ultimately televised images of protesters and requested viewers to identify them for security forces,” the letter said.

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The letter underscored IRIB‘s central role in assisting the regime “to promote and achieve its political objectives abroad, including destabilization of the Middle East.”

The letter continued: “IRIB-affiliated TV/radio channels, including a number of international channels in Arabic (eg. Al-Alam and Al-Kawthar), operate as propaganda arms, while other IRIB resources are deployed to support the media activities of the regime’s various Middle Eastern proxy groups.” It concluded that “IRIB works against U.S. national security and foreign policy interests internationally, not just in Iran.”

A social media campaign accompanying the letter to Pompeo features the hashtag #BanIRIB.

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