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EU calls for Iran to stop internet censorship

Iran must halt satellite jamming and internet censorship, a council of the European Union has stated.The repeated jamming of broadcasts from Eutelsat, internet censorship, and blocking of mobile communications by Iran must cease, said a meeting of ministers of the EU foreign affairs council on Monday.

Iran must halt satellite jamming and internet censorship, a council of the European Union has stated.

The repeated jamming of broadcasts from Eutelsat, internet censorship, and blocking of mobile communications by Iran must cease, said a meeting of ministers of the EU foreign affairs council on Monday.

"The European Union expresses its grave concern over measures taken by the Iranian authorities to prevent its citizens from freely communicating and receiving information through TV, radio satellite broadcasting and the internet," the council said. "Deliberate interference by jamming of satellite broadcasting has affected numerous radio and TV services, including European services, transmitted by Eutelsat. In addition, the Iranian authorities regularly prevent their citizens from freely accessing, communicating and receiving information on the internet, and restrict or block mobile telecommunications."

"The EU therefore calls on the Iranian authorities to stop the jamming of satellite broadcasting and internet censorship and to put an end to this electronic interference immediately. The EU is determined to pursue these issues and to act with a view to putting an end to this unacceptable situation."

Communications censorship in Iran tightened following President Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election last year.

The EU council said that complaints made to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) since then have not affected the jamming of satellite communications.

Lutz Guellner, spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, told ZDNet UK on Monday that the EU's first action would be to remind Iran of its obligations as a member of the ITU, and to clearly focus on censorship in discussions with Iran.

"The value of the [EU] declaration is to make a clear diplomatic point," said Guellner. "The next step is to decide what concrete and tangible steps can be taken."