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Police In Iran Destroyed 6,000 Satellite Dishes at a Stadium Event

While an estimated 40 percent of Iranians own the devices in order to access outside television programming, satellite dishes are banned in the country and are subject to regular police crackdowns.

by Kayla Ruble
Jan 22 2015, 7:40pm

Police in Iran recently destroyed approximately 6,000 satellite dishes and receivers in an event at a stadium after the devices were confiscated from the country's citizens.

The satellites were lined up on the field behind rows of chairs set up for the audience attending the demolition this week in the southwest Iran city of Shiraz, according to the media outlet Radio Free Europe Radio Library. According to translation by RFE/RL, the dishes, which are banned in Iran, were adorned with painted slogans including "Rule of Satan on Life," "Enemy of Islam," and "Drug Addiction" — all referencing societal problems the government claims are brought on by the dishes.

Photos of the event taken by the semi-official media outlet Fars News Agency show men and women walking through rows of satellites in the stadium, set in front of a mountain backdrop. One photo shows a container filled with hundreds of receivers.

Satellite dishes dot the rooftops of homes across Iran, providing a means for residents to access international and uncensored television programming. But the popularity of satellite television leads to a constant battle with local police, who regularly search homes, confiscate the illegal devices, and fine the owners.

In a video from 2011 regime authorities can be seen on a rooftop ledge dismantling a satellite dish.

This isn't the first time authorities have carried out a mass destruction of satellite dishes in Shiraz. News reports from 2013 indicated that Revolutionary Guards forces flattened dozens of dishes with a tank.

While crackdowns continue, Iranian officials estimate that 40 to 50 percent of people in the country own a dish.

Religious authorities have been railing against the satellite dishes for years. In 2011, senior Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said the satellite channels are part of enemy efforts aimed at "Fighting against Islam, the Islamic Revolution, and the great Iranian nation."

Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB