Eutelsat says satellite jammers within Iran are disrupting foreign channels

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TAMPA, Fla. — Signals originating within Iran have been jamming two Eutelsat satellites that provide foreign broadcasts in the country since Sept. 26, the French operator said Oct. 7.

“The interferences harmfully affect the transmission of several digital TV and radio channels broadcasting in Persian from outside of Iran, as well as other channels,” the company said in a news release.

The jamming is disrupting services from the operator’s Hot Bird 13C and Eutelsat 7B satellites in geostationary orbit, Eutelsat external communications director Anita Baltagi told SpaceNews.

Baltagi declined to specify the channels involved, but said “Eutelsat is a target because it broadcasts Farsi channels that are based abroad and therefore not under the control of IRIB,” or Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, the country’s state-owned media organization.

The jamming comes amid weeks of protests in Iran following the death of a woman while in police custody.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the protests were part of a foreign plot to destabilize the country during his first public comments on the unrest Oct. 3, reported the Associated Press.

The Iranian government has not commented on Eutelsat’s jamming issues.

According to Eutelsat, it used a “specially designed interference detection system” to conclude that all uplink transmissions interfering with the two satellites originate within Iran.

The operator said its technical experts “have been working around the clock with affected customers to mitigate the impact of the interference” on its services as much as possible.

“Eutelsat has immediately notified the relevant authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran, demanding that the harmful jamming operations be immediately and permanently stopped,” the company said. 

It has also reminded Iranian authorities that intentional jamming is “explicitly prohibited” by radio regulations under the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency.

 

This article was edited Oct. 7 to correct the name of one of the two satellites that Eutelsat said are having their signals jammed from within Iran.