Dispute over Iran System Absent from WRC Agenda

by

The 3,000 delegates to the four-week World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) in Geneva are contending with more than 1,700 proposals but will be spared having to deal with the deadlocked dispute between France and Iran on rights to frequencies around 26 degrees east longitude.

The issue has taken up multiple meetings of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) bodies over the past year and has not been resolved. Eutelsat, with partner Qatar, is building a telecommunications satellite that will be unable to function as intended if Iran continues to use frequencies aboard an Arabsat satellite that, according to Iran, were duly registered with ITU and correctly put into operation.

France and Paris-based Eutelsat have said Iran has made false statements to the ITU about the history of Iran’s Zohreh-2 satellite system, which Iran says has used U.S. and French satellites in the past before being transferred to Arabsat.

In recent weeks, Eutelsat and Arabsat, with the apparent consent of Iran and Qatar, have agreed to continue to seek, outside WRC-12, a compromise settlement that will permit both sides to operate their systems without major interference.