Intl. lawyer urges Iran to sue Intelsat for decision to ban Iranian channels

An international lawyer says Iran must sue European satellite service provider Intelsat for its decision to take Iranian channels, including the English-language news channel Press TV, off the air.

The case should also be supported by Iran’s friends, said Alfred Lambremont Webre in an interview with Press TV.

“My advice, if I were asked as an international lawyer, would be for these Iranian companies [which are to be banned by Intelsat] to petition the Iranian government to bring together as many friendly governments as possible and to take it to both the General Assembly and to the Security Council,” the international lawyer said.

He urged Iran not to remain silent in the face of Intelsat’s illegal move.

“I would not be silent. You know they say that silence equals death. I would take this, gather up a consortium of nations, go to the Security Council, go to the General Assembly and begin to introduce fairness doctrine regulations on these satellite companies,” Webre further said.

In the meantime, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has strongly protested against Intelsat’s illegal move.

“We would like to express our strong protest against the company’s decision to cut its satellite services to IRIB on June 30, 2013,” the IRIB said in an email to Intelsat.

It added that the decision not only violates the bilateral contracts between the company and the IRIB, but is also in violation of Intelsat’s commitments as stipulated in the Constitution of International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO).

Under the ITSO contract, Intelsat is required to provide satellite services to all members of the organization without any discrimination.

The email added that the US’ excuses to suspend services to Iranian channels are “not legally justified” and are “contrary to obligations and principles” that the US claims to be complying with.

The IRIB stated that it has no option but to take legal action against the company to demand compensation based on the bilateral contracts, adding it would also urge the Iranian government to pursue its rights under Article 19 of the ITSO Constitution.

On June 19, Intelsat said it would no longer provide services to Iranian channels, including Press TV, as of July 1. The decision has been made under the pretext that the company should be “abiding by” the sanctions against the IRIB president.

Press TV has learned that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – an agency of the US Treasury Department – 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 satellite companies say they are complying with the anti-Iran sanctions. However, Michael Mann, a spokesman for the EU foreign policy chief, has told Press TV that the sanctions do not apply to Iranian media.

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.

By Press TV


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