Last updated: 14 March, 2013

Iranian TV officials slam EU over sanctions

Two senior officials at Iran’s Press TV whom the EU has slapped with sanctions have criticised the bloc over the move, in comments published on the English-language channel’s website on Thursday.

The European Union on Tuesday added Press TV’s chief Mohammad Sarafraz and newsroom director Hamid Reza Emadi to its blacklist against Tehran for grave human rights violations, subjecting them to an EU travel ban and asset freeze.

Sarafraz said the sanctions “show the irrationality of the European Union,” quoted on Press TV’s Farsi website.

“They think we, the Iranians, are desperate to travel to Europe and to open bank accounts there,” said Sarafraz, who also as a vice president at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is tasked with overseeing IRIB’s world service.

Emadi, accused of cooperating with Iranian security forces, was quoted in a separate report on the website as saying that the sanctions were imposed against him without any “proof”.

“The accusations levelled against me have no legal basis,” he said.

In 2009, Emadi filmed an in-prison confession by Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari, who was detained in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election that year, without his consent. The clip was aired on Press TV.

The sanctions for rights abuse are separate from those linked to concerns over Iran’s contested nuclear drive.

Among the nine individuals added to the EU’s blacklist were the new head of the notorious Evin Prison, three judges, two prosecutors and the head of a special commission in charge of Internet censorship.