Iranian militia units destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes in a ceremony on Sunday to protect the “morality” of the populace.
“The truth is that most satellite channels… deviate the society’s morality and culture. What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society,” declared General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, head of the Basij militia, as reported by AFP.
“Most of these satellite channels not only weaken the foundation of families but also cause disruptions in children’s education and children who are under the influence of satellite have improper behavior,” Naghdi added.
When Iran’s Culture Minister Ali Jannati objected to the crackdown and claimed 70 percent of Iranians are quietly violating the law, Naghdi accused him of lying about the numbers.
AFP notes that “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani also disagrees with the ban on satellite dishes. The morality police may confiscate Iranians’ TV equipment, but “moderates vs. hardliners” kabuki theater plays around the clock in Iran for the consumption of gullible Western observers.
“In a closed society like Iran, where the government maintains a tight grip over the media and all modes of communication, satellite television broadcasts from outside the country carry particular significance for both the authorities and the Iranian public,” said a London-based NGO called Small Media, as related by the Christian Science Monitor.
“The Iranian government sees satellite channels as a Western front in the ‘soft war’ being waged against their rule, a ‘weapon’ intent on undermining the country’s religious and cultural beliefs,” Small Media’s report continued.
CSM adds the interesting observation that supporters of the satellite dish ban are particularly upset with Turkish soap operas, which are “particularly disliked by conservative Muslims.”
“Soap operas are good series, and young people can learn many things from them. Watching them is not against Islam,” objected one Iranian soap-opera fan.
Naghdi claimed a million Iranians have voluntarily handed over their satellite dishes, which are banned under Iranian law, with a hefty fine for sale, use, or repair. Despite these penalties, Iranians reportedly have a tendency to replace their dishes soon after the morality police confiscate them.