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Friday, September 13, 2013

Iran’s Press TV Dodges Sanctions on YouTube

As my colleague Michael Schwirtz reported, Iran’s new foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, addressed the crisis in Syria in an English-language interview this week on Press TV, a state-owned satellite channel that exists to put Tehran’s spin on the news.

Perhaps aware that Americans are unable to see Press TV broadcasts over the air, Mr. Zarif posted a link to a YouTube video of the interview on the recently verified Twitter feed he uses to engage with citizens of Iran’s traditional enemies.

Readers who are interested in seeing the interview might want to act fast, though, because Press TV has been engaged in a battle of wits with YouTube in recent months over access to the video-sharing site.

In late July, shortly after the Anti-Defamation League complained to YouTube that the Iranian-owned broadcaster was using its channel as a “propaganda tool to promote a wide range of pernicious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in English to a worldwide audience,” Press TV reported that it had lost control of its official channel and was no longer able to post new video reports there.

Two weeks later, after Press TV tried to evade the blockade by setting up a second channel, the A.D.L. complained again, calling the broadcaster’s use of YouTube a violation of American sanctions, and the Iranians again found themselves blocked.

In late August, Press TV advised users to look for its reports on another new channel, which is now also blocked.

A spokeswoman for YouTube refused to speak on the record about any specific channel but said in a statement to The Lede, “We disable accounts that violate our terms of service or community guidelines, and when we are required by law to do so.”