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Iran says English-language TV channel dropped in North America

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's English-language Press TV channel has been dropped from the satellite platform that allowed it to broadcast in the United States and Canada, the channel said.

The state-owned, 24-hour network broadcasts world news and pro-government views beyond Iran's borders.

Press TV had broadcast in North America on the Galaxy 19 satellite platform. The channel did not say when it was dropped.

New sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury Department this week blacklisted the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and its director, Ezatollah Zarghami, which oversees Iran's broadcast channels.

Press TV said in a statement on Friday evening that its being dropped from Galaxy 19 was a "flagrant violation of freedom of speech."

In October, the Paris-based Eutelsat, one of Europe's leading satellite providers, cut Iranian state television and radio broadcasts to comply with tougher European Union sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The Eutelsat decision hit 19 channels provided by IRIB, including Press TV.

Galaxy 19 is operated by Luxembourg-based Intelsat, according to the firm's website. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The European Union stepped up sanctions on Iran's banking, shipping, and industrial sectors on Monday over Tehran's disputed nuclear program which the West fears is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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