WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is temporarily waiving sanctions on Iran’s state broadcaster, a senior Obama administration official said late Thursday. The move could be seen as a confidence-building measure as the U.S., Iran and five other world powers prepare to open talks this month on a final agreement on Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
The official said the move comes after the U.S. determined that “harmful satellite interference” was not currently emanating from Iran. The U.S. levied sanctions on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting last year, charging that the state-run broadcaster was blocking foreign channels that the government found objectionable and citing human rights groups who said the broadcaster distorted and falsified reports.
The temporary waiver will allow non-U.S. companies to provide the Iranian broadcaster with satellite services without being exposed to American penalties, according to the official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the move by name and thus spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said the actions were reversible if satellite interference from Iran begins again.
The waiver is separate from the sanctions relief Iran secured as part of the six-month nuclear agreement it signed last year with the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. The parties are due to begin a new round of talks later this month, aimed at working out a final agreement to ease international concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.