Spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Hossein Nooshabadi announced that Tehran is ready to consider a possible request by the world service of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for opening its office in Iran.
In the past two months, there have been rumours that BBC is going to resume its activities in Iran.
In an interview with Sobh-e Now newspaper, as translated by IFP, Nooshabadi said that if BBC World makes a request for opening its office, it will be considered.
However, he added, they have yet to make an official request for opening their office in Iran.
“If they send their request, it will be studied by a three-member council comprised of the Intelligence Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and the Culture Ministry,” Nooshabadi went on to say.
Culture Minister Ali Jannati has also made comments about the issue. He recently told Mehr that giving permission to BBC Persian is totally off the table.
However, Jannati said, issuing licence for BBC World is possible, because their behaviour towards Iran is totally different, and the type of their job differs from that of BBC Persian.
Secret Meeting between BBC Officials and Iran’s Envoy to London
In its Monday report, Sobh-e Now claims that Iran’s Chargé d’affaires in London Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh had held a meeting with BBC officials in the TV channel’s office in 2014.
During the meeting, a deputy head of BBC News has reportedly voiced the BBC chief’s willingness to visit Iran, but the Iranian official said such a visit would be fruitless without a considerable agenda.
He has recommended that they would use the ‘reopening of BBC office’ as a pretext for Tony Hall, the Director-General of BBC, to visit Iran. However, BBC officials convince Habibollahzadeh that Iranian authorities should give the green light for such a visit.
Sobh-e Now further claimed that BBC had certain conditions: the DG’s meeting with Iranian officials, issuance of visa for visits of BBC reporters, and the presence of a residing correspondent in Tehran were among the requests made by BBC.
We should wait and see whether the British news channel would be able to restart its operation in Iran or not.