“Iranian police have launched a new crackdown on satellite dishes which, although illegal, are still a common sight on rooftops across the Islamic republic. Tehran police confiscated more than 2,000 satellite dishes in a single day last week in a battle against receivers which let Iranians see a huge range of uncensored entertainment and international news not available on state-controlled channels. “The police’s priority is first to confiscate dishes which are visible … and confront the owners,” Tehran-e Emrouz daily quoted Tehran’s deputy police chief Ahmadreza Radan as saying……..”
Iranian mullahs allow their women to continue driving cars and ride motorcycles. But they hate satellite dishes for the openness to the world that come with them. The Saudis are more open about international media than the Iranians: satellite dishes are not banned anymore (three fourths of the population would go crazy without them and may pour out into the streets of Riyadh and Jeddah and cause major trouble). There was a time when Wahhabi nuts, the religious police, went around trying to destroy satellite dishes, but that was in the past. There a was a time, up to the early 1990s, when satellite dishes were banned in other GCC Gulf states as well. But the Persian Gulf War (1990/91) and the CNN coverage of it put an end to that. In my hometown, I don’t recall any new law allowing satellite dishes after 1991, just as I don’t recall any law banning them before that. It was just government fiat. Satellite dishes, that were once exclusively used by potentates, suddenly became commonplace.
The official position seems to be: Iranian mullahs know they can’t ban dishes, they are just trying to make them less visible on rooftops. The logic is not a logical one, since everyone knows they are there, everyone has them, and the mullahs have them as well. Maybe it is the aesthetics they care about.
It is a losing battle that they should give up, just as their neighbors on the Gulf did many years ago. After all, anyone can watch television channels over the Internet, and Iran cannot ban the Internet: the mullahs would have a true revolution of the young (and the old) on their hands if they did. So, give it up Ali and Mahmoud: it is a losing battle.