The thing is that the Regime has a viable alternative in the form of the oldest, largest, and most popular resistance organization in Iran, which has fought two separate regimes since it was founded in 1965. That is the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
In order to help you earn more about the MEK, we have created an in-depth series. In this part, we will learn about how the Regime tries to stop people from viewing MEK TV.
Banning satellite dishes
Satellite dishes have been banned in Iran since 1994 because they allow the Iranian people to access news from around the world, including the MEK channel in London, and learn the truth about the Regime. Anyone caught using a dish can be fined up to 3 million Iranian rials (about $105).
Despite the ban, it is estimated that between 50% and 70% of the population watches satellite television broadcasts, including MEK TV, with sociology professor Fardin Ali-Khah noting that the dishes can be seen everywhere. Meanwhile, the Iranian Parliament’s research centre reports that a large number of Iranians use the dishes to gain “access to news and analysis” and that the ban has only increased the “craving for satellite use in most and the poorest villages and city suburbs”.
Basij commander Abdul Reza Dashi said: “[The] battle against satellite TV and social networks on the Internet is more important than the effort of achieving chemical and atomic weapons.”
The Iranian authorities conduct regular raids to confiscate satellite equipment. (On one day in 2013, they arrested 107 people, shut down a satellite manufacturer, and confiscated 16,000 satellite dishes across 19 cities.) They also try to bribe Iranians into giving up their dishes.
Still, it seems like the number of Iranians trying to view MEK TV and other satellite channels, in response to the Regime’s censorship of the Internet and crack down on online activists.
Jamming satellite signals
In order to stop Iranians viewing MEK TV, the Iranian Regime periodically jammed satellite signals, which means that MEK TV constantly has to move its signal to other satellites – PanAmSat, AsiaSat, ArabSat, Eutelsat, and Hotbird – to still air in Iran.
While jamming has decreased in recent years, it’s still a regular occurrence. The Regime also blocks BBC Persian Television, Voice of America PNN, Rangarang, and Radio Zamaneh.
In 2014, Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani, 51, was hanged to death by the Regime for sending information and donating to MEK TV
Savadjani was arrested in 2007 for sending MEK TV information about the Regime and making a financial contribution. He was initially sentenced to six years of hard labour, with three years suspended, but the Ministry of Intelligence and Security appealed the sentence.
He was then resentenced to six years in prison. However, in 2011, he was transferred to a Tehran court and convicted of “waging war on God”.
Savadjani said: “The basis for my death sentence is that I have exposed the brutality of the Ministry of Intelligence and refused to provide information and doing TV interviews, renouncing the MEK.”
In our next piece, we will learn how the Regime airs propaganda against the MEK on their state-run TV channels.