The infamous Iranian Basij militia cracked down on the use of satellite dishes by confiscating 100,000 dishes in Tehran. Iranian prosecutors insisted that dishes expose families to UnIslamic influences and are “morally damaging.” The dishes were destroyed in a triumphant ceremony before General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, head of Iran’s Basij militia. Most people view Naghdi’s crackdown as a pathetic and laughable example of religious orthodoxy that still strangles Iranian society. However, Naghdi heralded the latest achievement of his extremist forces.
Iranian law bans satellite equipment and subjects distributors and repair shops to fines.
Naghdi responded to the growing outcry over the law prohibiting dishes, which give Iranians access to the outside world: “The truth is that most satellite channels… deviate the society’s morality and culture.” He insisted that knowledge of outside influences only confuses good Muslims and that what “these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society.”
In a rare expression of public disagreement, Culture Minister Ali Jannati has argued for a reconsideration of the ban and noted that 70 percent of Iranians violate the law. His statement led to a public condemnation by Naghdi and suggestion that Jannati was not a good Muslim. Naghdi warned that officials in charge of cultural affairs “should be truthful with people rather than following what pleases them.” He again cited a wide array of evils from being exposed to unIslamic influences: “Most of these satellite channels not only weaken the foundation of families but also cause disruptions in children’s education and children who are under the influence of satellite have improper behavior.”
Once again, you have to wonder how secure the Iranian Revolution must be — or by extension Islamic values — when a simple satellite dish is such a threat to stability and morality.