Iran bans contact with foreign organisations, including the BBC
Guardian / Robert Tait

Authorities in Iran intensified their campaign to blame the country's political turmoil on foreigners today by banning contact with more than 60 international organisations.

The intelligence ministry said the blacklist included thinktanks, universities and broadcasting organisations identified as waging a "soft war" aimed at toppling Iran's Islamic system.

It forbade Iranians from talking to or receiving aid from the proscribed organisations, including the BBC, which last year launched a Farsi satellite television channel, as well as two US government-funded outlets, Voice of America and Radio Farda, both of which broadcast in Farsi.

Also on the list were Wilton Park, a British group that organises foreign policy conferences, Yale University and leading American thinktanks, including the Brookings Institution and the George Soros Open Society Foundation.

While there have been previous cases of Iranians being arrested or harassed over involvement with some of the named organisations, there has never before been an extensive formal list.

The ban also included an Iranian reformist website, Rah-e Sabz, which has been a news source for international media during the recent unrest, which foreign journalists have been restricted from covering.

An unnamed deputy intelligence minister for foreign affairs was quoted by the state news agency, Irna, as describing Rah-e Sabz as "counter-revolutionary". Contact was "prohibited and considered as... >>>

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