Updated at: 10/15/2012 7:05 AM
(AP) PARIS - A leading European satellite provider took 19 Iranian television and radio broadcasters off the air Monday as a result of European Union sanctions aimed at punishing human rights abusers.
People in Iran still have access to most of the channels, operated by Iranian state broadcaster Irib, but they’re no longer broadcast in Europe and elsewhere.
Satellite provider Eutelsat agreed with media services company Arqiva to block the Irib channels as of Monday morning because of "reinforced EU council sanctions" Eutelsat spokeswoman Vanessa O’Connor said. Irib’s access to Eutelsat was via a contract with Arqiva.
Eutelsat would not comment on eventual financial consequences of the cutoff. Iran’s Press TV said Irib could take legal action against Eutelsat over the cutoff.
Irib’s chief was among those targeted in a round of EU sanctions against Iran adopted in March, based on what European officials said were human rights violations in its programming, according to Eutelsat.
The EU has been toughening its sanctions against Iran, primarily to pressure the government to be more upfront about its nuclear program.
Press TV says it’s among the channels cut by the Eutelsat decision. Others include Farsi-language channels for Iranian expatriates and Arabic-language offerings, including the news channel Al-Alam.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)