Sunday Oct 20, 201906:17 AM GMT
'Blocking Press TV accounts illegal'
Sat Jan 1, 2011 9:5AM
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Head of IRIB World Service Mohammad Sarafraz
A top official at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting organization has slammed blocking of Press TV bank accounts in Britain as illegal.

"Banks cannot block the accounts of the media which operate within the regulations of the host country, without a reason," Head of IRIB World Service Mohammad Sarafraz told IRNA.

Sarafraz, who also heads Press TV news channel, said the Press TV in London is a company, which is registered according to Britain's law and keeps its media operations within that framework.

Sarafraz said the London-based Press TV company "is not directly affiliated with" Press TV channel based in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

"Western countries, especially Britain, advance their illegal aims through economic and banking levers and they have so far closed some of the [Press TV] channel's accounts in different banks," he further explained.

Sarafraz added that bank bosses have never issued an official response as to why they have blocked the accounts, only suggesting that they have been "pressured by those in the positions of authority."

His remarks come as earlier in December WikiLeaks released documents from secret US Department of State cables that showed Britain Foreign Office told the US embassy in London back in February that it is "exploring ways to limit the operations of… Press TV."

Sarafraz also pointed to the disclosures and said they seem to be "connected" to the bank accounts closures.

According to Sarafraz, another related case to limitations the British government seeks to impose on Press TV was an attack on the news outlet's crew during London tuition fee protests, which saw Press TV's reporter and cameraman attacked by a mob who had their faced covered.

"The blow to the cameraman was in a way that he was knocked to the ground and had his multi-thousand-pound camera smashed," he said.

"The incident took place within the sight of police and probably police security system had recruited the attackers who had covered their face," he noted.

Sarafraz also dismissed any connection between the anti-Iranian sanctions and the closure of the bank accounts.

"A few days ago the Guardian daily reported in case of new sanctions on Iran, Press TV operations in Britain will be stopped. Such matters are not related to each other and are only aimed at preventing Iran's media operations," he concluded.

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