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Posted July 20, 2003 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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HAVANA (Reuters) - The Cuban government on Saturday denied jamming U.S. satellite broadcasts to Iran and said it only blocked radio and television signals beamed “illegally” at Cuba.

A U.S. broadcast agency and a private Iranian television broadcaster in California accused communist-run Cuba last week of interfering with transmissions aimed at the opposition in Iran.

The Cuban authorities agreed to investigate the claim at the request of the State Department, which on Friday asked Cuba to find the jamming station.

“This is a new campaign of anti-Cuban lies ... adding to a long list of hostile and aggressive actions that the imperial administration of George W. Bush has taken against our country,’ a Cuban Foreign Ministry statement said.

Havana said it only jammed broadcasts by U.S.-funded Radio and TV Marti, which the Bush administration expanded this year to support opposition to Cuban President Fidel Castro.

It appeared to be a case of cooperation between two ideologically distinct governments which Washington dislikes. Cuba is ruled by Castro’s communist government, while Iran is dominated by Muslim clerics.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors, a federal agency that supervises all U.S. government-funded non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America and Radio and TV Marti, said the jamming began at about the same time as it started a daily news program for Iranians on July 6.

The jamming coincided with opposition preparations for protests in Iran planned for July 9.

The private television station NITV, which is based in Los Angeles, said the jamming began on July 5 when an unfamiliar signal appeared on the satellite transponder it uses. It asked a specialist company, TLS Inc., to find the source.

TLS investigations concluded that the most probable source of the interference was in the vicinity of Havana.

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