BBC Farsi service is banned says Iran

The BBC’s Farsi (Persian) TV channel launched on Jan 14. Aimed at the more than 100m Farsi speakers in the region, it is already making waves in Iran.

Funded by the UK government to the tune of some £15m pa, the service has now been “banned”, with local sources stating that Iranian journalists and contributors have been prohibited from working for the channel.

"Considering the BBC's history of creating chaos in Iran, and its efforts to set the various strata of Iranian society against each other, the presence of the BBC Persian TV in the Islamic Republic is deemed to be illegal," Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance, announced, adding that plans for the BBC’s Persian TV channel were not carried out "with good will” reported press agency UPI.

Despite an official ban on satellite television, dishes dot Iranian rooftops with dozens of Farsi channels available, including the Voice of America’s Persian service.

The BBC insists that its Iranian output (which also gets coverage into Afghanistan and the surrounding region) is perfectly legal and is not breaking any local laws. The BBC says the broadcaster adheres to Iranian laws that says it is illegal for the channel to report and gather news in Iran. Instead, BBC Farsi TV gathers news from abroad, using sources and contacts within Iran.