• Kyodo

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Some 100,000 satellite dishes and related equipment were destroyed Sunday by Iran’s volunteer Basij militia working under the elite revolutionary military guard, the militia’s official news website reported.

The destruction ceremony in Tehran took place one week after Culture Minister Ali Jannati of the ruling moderate government indirectly suggested to lawmakers that the country’s ban on satellite devices should be lifted.

According to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, Jannati said that 70 percent of Iranians are using satellite TV and related equipment.

But Gen. Mohammad Naghdi, the chief commander of Basij, said he believes that satellite channels are functioning as the tool of the country’s enemies to destroy Iranian culture and society.

“Satellite channels are leading people toward corruption. Divorce, addiction to drugs and social corruption are consequences of using these channels,” Basij news quoted Naghdi as having said on Sunday.

While popular with the Iranian people, the government is harshly critical of news and entertainment satellite channels such as Voice of America and BBC Persian services, Manoto, and GEM that are beamed into the country from abroad.

In recent years, some journalists, documentary makers and media experts have even been sentenced to jail for having ties with satellite channels.

Soon after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, use of video players and possession of video cassettes were banned. It took more than a decade for the ban to be repealed.

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