Several Iranian state TV stations intended for foreign audiences risk being shut down due to “debt accumulation,” the head of the foreign branch of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) warned on Wednesday.
“We expect that important TV networks of ours, such as Press TV, al-Alam, and iFilm English and Arabic will be taken off the air in the coming days and weeks,” Peyman Jebeli told the semi-official Fars news agency on Wednesday.
Iran’s foreign-language TV stations are widely considered to be regime mouthpieces that aim to promote its values and ideologies and justify its destabilising foreign policies.
Jebeli said that a Dari-language IRIB radio station that had been broadcasting in Afghanistan for 40 years has already been shut down due to debt accumulation.
“The loss of this radio station is a major blow to our country's international propaganda,” he said.
Last month, IRIB’s Arabic-language al-Kawthar TV was taken off the air for the same reason.
“We thought this issue would get some attention from the government after al-Kawthar TV was taken off the air,” he said.
“The officials and institutions that are responsible for financing IRIB are either not aware of the tragedies that are happening, or they do not care,” said Jebeli.
He accused President Hassan Rouhani’s administration of gross negligence, saying: “The suspicion we had that this negligence may be deliberate is gaining more prominence.”
Jebeli did not say how much IRIB owed to satellite providers, or why the Rouhani administration would refrain from allocating the necessary funds to the organisation.
The Rouhani administration has in the past criticised IRIB for being overly critical of the administration’s policies.