German public television hosts Iranian broadcast boss

Two channels invite president of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

iranian broadcast 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
iranian broadcast 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
BERLIN – Executives from two public TV channels last week hosted Ezzatollah Zarghami, the president of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, who allegedly has ties to the Revolutionary Guards, prompting criticism on Monday.
On July 4, 2009, Zarghami told the press that the videos of Neda Agha Soltan’s death during the 2009 Iranian election protests were all fake and were produced by BBC and CNN. Zarghami has been the head of IRIB, the corporation controlling Iranian national radio and television broadcasting, since 2004. His predecessor was Ali Larijani, now speaker of the Iranian parliament.
“It is not clear which is more bizarre and scandalous: that ARD and ZDF, personally represented by ARD chairman Peter Boudgoust and ZDF director Markus Schächter, received a delegation from the state broadcaster of the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by its head, Ezzatollah Zarghami, as well as the Iranian ambassador in Berlin, Ali Reiza Sheik Attar, for a nice chat at Lerchenberg – or that no one in Germany was interested in this chat. As if it were completely normal,” author and journalist Oliver M. Piecha on Monday, wrote on the popular Wadi blog site.
Piecha, a co-editor of the book Betrayed Freedom: The Revolt in Iran and the West’s Response, has written extensively on the persecution of dissidents and the pro-democracy movement in Iran.
The state-controlled Iranian Press-TV wrote last week that “The German ZDF and ARDTV had invited Zarghami to Germany, where they made their request for stronger ties.”
According to Zarghami, “It was a good opportunity to hold talks with the heads of the channels..., visit their facilities and become more familiar with their media activities.”
A YouTube video shows a cordial meeting between Zarghami, ARD’s Boudgoust and ZDF’s Schächter. According to the video, Zarghami and the German TV executives plan to expand their work together.
The cooperation between taxpayer-funded German television and IRIB has triggered outrage among such groups as the German chapter of Stop the Bomb, which aims to combat Iranian genocidal anti-Semitism.
IRIB’s German-language Web site contains a report from last Wednesday in which Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei describes “Zionism as the new form of Fascism.”