In the past week, Tehran Police Special Operations forces came together with plainclothes forces and, as part of a continuing operation, raided homes in Tehran’s Saadat Abad neighborhood and collected satellite dishes.

“During the raid, forces tried to intimidate and frighten the neighborhood residents and attempted to destroy satellite dishes on people’s roofs,” a neighborhood resident told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Police commandos used ropes to climb onto balconies and enter people’s private homes.

According to several eyewitness accounts, some of the plainclothes forces present during the raids were in charge of operations. Plainclothes forces also recorded videos and took photographs of the raids.

During the past two years, along with newspaper bans and the active role of the Revolutionary Guard in jamming satellite news programs, raiding people’s homes has comprised another component of the Iranian government’s policy of depriving Iranians from learning about news and world events.

The source also said that several residents who were not home when police forces entered their dwellings alleged that their gold, jewelry, and valuable household items had gone missing. Tehran’s Deputy Police Commander, Ahmad Reza Radan, said in June that “Police have received special authorization to enter the common areas [of residential buildings], and police forces will use judicial orders to enter rooftops and organizations where satellite equipment is clearly visible…”  However, there has actually been an increased rate of private property violations and unannounced entry into people’s homes in different areas.

During several of his interviews with foreign media, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that the use of satellite equipment is legal in Iran. The Iranian government, however, continues to use different tools for limiting freedom of expression including press and book censorship, blocking internet websites, as well as preventing people from having access to satellite programming.