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Iran rips European satellite television blackout

TEHRAN — Denouncing what they called a hypocritical Western suppression of free speech, Iranian media officials expressed outrage Wednesday over a decision by Europe’s largest satellite providers to cease transmission of Iran’s 19 state-operated satellite television and radio channels that broadcast to Europe and parts of the Middle East.

The decision, announced Monday by the French company Eutelsat and the British company Arqiva, came as the European Union expanded its list of sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program. The satellite blackout has deprived the Iranian channels of an audience abroad that represents 200 million households.

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The blocked channels include Iran’s flagship English-language Press TV news service and the Arabic-language Al Alam, both among the Islamic Republic’s most powerful outlets for disseminating the government’s political and religious viewpoints.

Several of the blocked Iranian channels are now streaming over the Internet.

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