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memri
February 23, 2005 No.
868

France Bans Iran's Sahar TV For Airing Antisemitic Programs

Part of MEMRI's TV Monitoring Project (www.memritv.org) addresses the subject of antisemitism on Arab and Iranian television channels. From December 2004 through February 2005, MEMRI TV translated and released clips from 'Zahra's Blue Eyes,' an Iranian series on Sahar TV that depicts Israeli government, military, and civilian personnel (many wearing the traditional clothing of religious Jews) conspiring to steal the eyes of Palestinian children. The series was produced by a former official of the Iranian Education Ministry.

Following the release of translated clips by MEMRI of the series, it was condemned by the U.S. government. The Voice of America released an "editorial reflecting the views of the U.S. government," criticizing the series as "incitement to hatred." Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights Michael Kozak was quoted in the VOA editorial, adding, "Antisemitism has plagued our world for centuries. From the most far-reaching and vile extreme – the Holocaust – to subtler but no less vile forms of antisemitism have disrupted lives, brought upheavals to communities, and imposed political and social cleavages between communities and states. In our increasingly interdependent world, antisemitism is an intolerable burden."

Additionally, 15 members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, [1] wrote a letter to the director of the Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Jazini condemning the series. The letter stated, "We are writing to express our grave concern about a television series entitled 'Zahra's Blue Eyes'... This weekly Iranian television series offered a libelous, odious, and highly inflammatory fiction..."


Today, Iranian TV reported that Sahar TV, a major Iranian TV channel, was banned in France due to its airing of objectionable content, which was monitored, translated, and released by The MEMRI TV Monitor Project. Sahar TV was banned by the French authorities specifically for broadcasting 'Zahra's Blue Eyes,' as well as for previously broadcasting 'Al-Shatat,' a Syrian-produced film originally broadcast by Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV.

'Al-Shatat' was re-aired by Sahar TV in Persian for an Iranian audience (the Al-Manar series was in Arabic) in January 2005. Al-Manar had also been banned in France for its airing of 'Al-Shatat.' Both series' came to Western attention, including Western judicial and criminal authorities, following MEMRI dispatches and videos with translations of the series.

Produced as a 2003 Ramadan TV series, 'Al-Shatat' generated an intense backlash following translations of the show released by MEMRI. These clips were screened for French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, and numerous other high-ranking American and European government officials.

To view clips from Al-Shatat, visit http://memritv.org/clip/en/491.htm as well as http://stream.realimpact.net/rihurl.ram?file=realimpact/memri/shatat.rm (requires RealPlayer).

The following are today's announcements on Iranian TV channels Sahar TV and Jaam-E-Jam 3 of France's ban and an interview with the producer of the series Ahmad Mir-'Alawii. To view the announcements, a short compilation of the Zahra series clips, and the interview, visit http://memritv.org/clip/en/568.htm.

Iranian TV Channels Sahar and Jaam-E-Jam, February 23, 2005

Sahar TV

Newscaster: "The French Higher Council for Radio and Television decided, on February 10, to cancel [the broadcasting of] Iranian Sahar TV, which belongs to the Islamic Republic of Iran, on the Hotbird satellite. This was the result of its airing the 'Al-Shatat' series and 'Zahra's Blue Eyes,' which, naturally, had various ramifications because it wanted to express the truth, to tell the truth, and to highlight the truth in everybody's minds, but not as the Zionists want. Our only crime is that we wanted to side with the oppressed. Our only crime is that we wanted to be followers of Imam Hussein's teaching, peace be upon him - Hussein who taught us, and indeed continues to teach us, how to face the aggressors."

Jaam-E-Jam 3 TV

Newscaster A: "Following the ban on the Al-Manar TV broadcasts in France, we see that the Sahar TV broadcasts have also been banned in a country that has claims to be free and democratic."

Newscaster B: "Yes, unfortunately... As you've said, France has banned the broadcasts of the Sahar Global network due to anti-Israeli programming. The French Higher Council for Radio and Television passed on this decision to the Eutelsat company. Sharif-Zadeh, director of the Sahar network, had this to say:"

Mohsan Sharif-Zadeh: "Recently we've aired a series called 'Zahra's Blue Eyes' and a series called 'Al-Shatat.' This latter was produced in an Arab country, and we aired it here on the Sahar network. Much of it has not yet been broadcast. We've only aired 10 episodes. They used these series as a pretext.

We are continuing to broadcast. We are trying to deal with this through our political channels and in human rights forums in order to have this decision reconsidered. We hope our efforts bear fruit. Obviously, we began this trend to support the Palestinian people and to present the false foundations of the Zionist regime. Naturally, we will continue all programming as long as broadcasts have not been stopped by Eutelsat. Even afterwards we will continue our programming."

Interview with producer of Zahra blue Eyes on Zionist Ship Kidnapping Children

The following are excerpts from an interview with Ahmad Mir-'Alawii, who produced 'Zahra's Blue Eyes,' in which Mir-'Alawii warns of a "Zionist ship" full of kidnapped toddlers sailing the oceans.

Sahar TV aired the interview on February 8, 2005 in Farsi with Arabic voiceover. This translation is from the original Farsi:

Ahmad Mir-'Alawii: "We have presented only a small portion of the Zionists' crimes. During our work [on the film] we received information - even from Jews sympathizing with our point of view. They themselves were anti-Zionists. These were monotheistic Jews. They gave us information that made us regret the film had been completed. I wish we had this information before we made the film.

"Oh Zionists, you have occupied the homes of innocent people. You are killing them, making them face firing squads, and gouging out their eyes in front of their parents. In this film we treated you more than fairly, when we presented you as taking out their eyes in an operating room.

"There is a white ship sailing the oceans. It doesn't enter the territorial waters of Iran or similar countries. Our Arab brothers must look out for this ship. In it [the Zionists] hold children only one or two years old, who don't know anything. These are children no one cared for. They are kidnapped by various means under the pretext of wanting to take care of them. These children are held on this ship, and no one knows their fate. They become teenagers, not knowing what their fate will be. They receive the best medical care and are under constant physical monitoring and supervision. Why do [the Zionists] give them such care? To use them for medical purposes. They use the heart, the kidneys, and their other organs.

"The story plot does not follow in every detail a specific case in Israel, in that there was a person who wanted to become president, or was a candidate in the elections, or in that there was an actual child, with such a family, such a name and such details. The film is not entirely documentary. This story is the product of research we conducted and information we collected from every corner, and pieced together to compile this story. This story is a collection of facts. As I mentioned, we conducted research and reached conclusions, and we have turned them into this film to make the world aware of what the Zionists are doing to the Palestinians."


[1] Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Nita Lowey (D-NY), John Shimkus (R-IL), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Steve King (R-IA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Barney Frank (D-MA), Tom Lantos (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chris Chocola (R-IN)