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Cuba denies jamming U.S. broadcasts to Iran

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HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuba's foreign ministry Saturday denied U.S. allegations it has been deliberately jamming satellite transmissions from the United States into Iran.

It indicated, however, the government would investigate if any unintentional interference may be taking place.

"This is part of a new pack of anti-Cuban lies, and the foreign ministry says it is precisely the government of the United States that is violating flagrantly the norms and regulations established by the International Union for Telecommunication by maintaining and, in fact, increasing its illegal radio and television broadcasts toward Cuba," the ministry said in the government's first official statement on the matter.

Earlier this week, Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an independent federal agency that oversees the Voice of America and other non-military international broadcasting, said Cuba was jamming satellite transmissions from the United States into Iran.

The BBG said the jamming was detected July 6 when the government-funded Voice of America launched a daily half-hour Persian language television news and analysis program.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects this new defamatory campaign against Cuba and the shameless statements made by Mr. Tomlinson," the ministry said. "Cuba has never and would never carry out this type of corruption of satellite transmissions of U.S. television."

The statement said the only broadcasts Cuba jams are those it considers illegally beamed from the United States into Cuba, in reference to Radio and TV Marti, actions it considers violations of international law.

The United States government funds Radio and TV Marti, which are broadcast from Miami and beamed into Cuba in an effort to undermine Cuba's communist government.

Havana successfully jams TV Marti but manages to only partially black out Radio Marti.

In response to a diplomatic note from the U.S. government, the Cuban foreign ministry said it has notified the United States that Cuba is making a detailed investigation to determine whether any transmissions originating from the island "could be interfering unintentionally with transmissions from the United States."

The BBG said the jamming was "deliberate and malicious" effort by Cuba to block Iranian audiences from having access to truthful news and information.

Tomlinson called the alleged jamming "illegal" and she said it "interferes with the free and open flow of international communications."

CNN Havana Bureau Chief Lucia Newman contributed to this story.

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