Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 30
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani ordered two ministers and two vice presidents to investigate health risks of jamming satellite TV channels, Mahmoud Vaezi, Iran's Communications and Information Technology Minister, said.
The ministers of health and medical education and cooperatives, labor and social welfare as well as the vice-president and head of Atomic Energy Organization and vice-president and head of Environmental Protection Organization were ordered to review the issue, Vaezi said, the news agency Fars reported Nov. 30.
Over the past years, Iranian authorities have jammed foreign satellite channels, especially VOA and BBC Persian services as well as foreign-based opposition TV channels.
There are growing concerns that the issue could pose various health risks.
The Iranian officials have repeatedly denied claims that the satellite jamming devices cause various illnesses, including cancer and miscarriages.
While the use of satellite receiving dishes is prohibited by law in Iran, millions of Iranians watch banned satellite channels. Although the authorities have systematically carried out activities to dismantle antennas, they are usually reinstalled after several days.
Last year Iran's culture minister, Ali Jannati confirmed that more than 70 percent of population of Tehran watch banned satellite channels.
He also criticized the jamming of some satellite channels, noting that it "will not be practical" in the future, when "almost 2000 TV channels will be available on mobile devices."
Ezzatollah Zarghami, the then head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) said in May that about 40 percent of the country's people uses satellite TV channel receivers.
Earlier, President Rouhani criticized the bans on satellite receiver antennas in Iran, saying that banning is an idea that belongs to the past.