The Hispan TV Spanish-language channel
A long promised Spanish language TV channel from Iran's state broadcaster IRIB has been proclaimed live by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a move aimed at tightening Tehran's ties with the
anti-US bloc of Latin American states.
Hispan TV will broadcast news, documentaries, interviews and films 24 hours a day, following a daily 16-hour trial that officially began in December 2011.
"The new channel will limit the ground for supremacy of dominance seekers," said President Ahmadinejad during the opening ceremony in Tehran. "It will be a means for better ties between people and governments of Iran and Spanish-speaking nations."
The Iranian president has recently returned from visiting the friendly governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador. In stark contrast, his country's relationship with the US and EU has turned ever more frosty over its contentious nuclear programme - culminating in the western states imposing an oil embargo and financial sanctions on Iran in recent weeks.
"This channel is Iran's communication bridge with Latin American countries and many of the Latin American states, [which are] anti-US in nature, have warmly welcomed the programmes on this channel," said Mohammad Sarafraz, head, IRIB World Service.
He added that the channel is currently producing 128 documentaries in nine Latin American countries to portray the social and political conditions in each.
Hispan TV's official launch, on 31 January in Tehran, was also attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and the ambassadors of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia.
With Hispan TV, Iran now hopes to reach out to the 800-million-strong Spanish speaking community worldwide via Hispasat 1C at 30 degrees West, Intelsat 9 at 58 degrees West and NSS-806 at 40.5 degrees West.
The first Islamic channel for the Spanish-speaking world is also set to be joined by the Saudi-backed Cordoba Television station, owned by the Foundation for the Message of Islam.