London Criticizes Press Freedoms In Iran


LONDON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Iran is taking concrete steps to ensure that its people are cut off from the outside world through a culture of censorship, London said.

British Middle East and North African Minister Alistair Burt in a statement said more than two dozen journalists are behind bars in Iran and more than 5 million Web sites and international satellite sites are jammed by Iranian authorities.

“Far from building bridges of cultural understanding, the Iranian authorities have demonstrated ruthless determination to cut their people off from all outside contact,” he said.

Iran, following the unrest that greeted the 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, jammed cellphone communications and restricted access for foreign journalists covering the events. The 2009 unrest was compared with the country’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. Hundreds were killed during the violence and many more were sent to jail.

Burt’s comments come as the British government copes with growing unrest in London and other metropolitan areas. Riots erupted during the weekend after police killed a British man.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said via the official Islamic Republic News Agency that British police are called on to exercise restraint.

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