More summoned in Iran for BBC ties: Minister

The BBC Farsi service does not have an office in Iran.

Updated: Sep 25, 2011, 20:06 PM IST

Tehran: Iran said on Sunday it has summoned
"more people" for their alleged links to the BBC`s Farsi
service, more than a week after it said six were arrested
suspected of gathering information for the channel.

"Important information has been obtained about those
cooperating with and linked to BBC Farsi, and the ministry has
summoned more people linked to this so-called media,"
Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi was quoted by the state
television website as saying.

There was no mention of how many people were called in.

"The British intelligence services have started new
destructive and anti-Iranian activities under cover of BBC
Farsi," Moslehi added, repeating that "any direct or indirect
collaboration is prohibited" with the channel.

On September 17, media announced the arrests of five men
and a woman for allegedly gathering information for the BBC`s
Farsi service, but identified them only by their initials.

They were reported as having been detained for "providing
the BBC Farsi (service) with information, films and secret
reports to paint a black picture of Iran and Iranians."

Iranian opposition websites named the six as Mojtaba
Mirtahmasb, co-director of banned film-maker Jafar Panahi`s
latest film, Nasser Saffarian, Hadi Afariden, Shahnama Bazdar,
Katayoun Shahabi and Mohsen Shahnazdar.

"Iranian documentary film-makers are not allowed to sell
their films to channels hostile to the Islamic republic," a
ministry official in charge of supervising cinematic work was
quoted by Fars news agency as saying on Sunday.

Iran`s House of Cinema, the country`s motion pictures
guild, has criticised the arrests, issuing a statement carried
by some local media that "there was no law to prohibit the
sale of film to foreign television" stations.

The BBC Farsi service, accused by the regime of fuelling
unrest following the disputed 2009 re-election of President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, does not have an office in Iran.

Tehran prohibits cooperation with Farsi broadcasters that
and are not controlled by the regime, including the BBC and
the Voice of America which are very popular in Iran.

Satellite channels are also routinely scrambled by the
authorities.
PTI