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Iran foreign TV channel ban eased

Tehran, Dec. 17 (Reuters): Iran’s reformist-dominated parliament passed a draft Bill today to ease a ban on foreign television stations beamed into the country via satellite dishes.

The Bill, which would allow certain approved channels to be shown in the Islamic Republic, is seen by its supporters as a long overdue recognition of authorities’ inability to enforce the ban.

“More than three million people are illegally watching satellite programmes. Has the ban been useful'” asked reformist legislator Amir Sherdust during the debate which was aired live on state radio.

Inexpensive dishes and pirated satellite receiver cards are readily available in Iran meaning that as fast as police confiscate dishes, new ones sprout up in their place.

To become law the Bill requires a second reading in parliament followed by approval from the Guardian Council, a conservative body which has the power to block legislation it deems unconstitutional.

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