President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday officially launched Iran’s latest foreign-language news channel, a 24-hour satellite broadcaster aimed at Spanish speakers worldwide.
“Viva España, viva America Latina,” he said in Spanish at the end of a televised speech to dignitaries attending the launch ceremony in Tehran.
The new channel, Hispan TV, has already been test-broadcasting since mid-November from its offices in Tehran, using a staff of Iranian, Spanish and Latin American journalists.
It joins another Iranian channel, Press TV, which broadcasts in English but whose London operations lost their British license in January on the grounds they were being controlled editorially from Tehran.
Iran also finances an Arabic channel, Al-Alam, and three other outlets that part of the time offer programs in Turkish, French and Urdu.
The foreign-language broadcasts aim to counter what Iran sees as biased reporting against it in Western and Arab media.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent a message hailing Hispan TV’s launch that was read out at Tuesday’s ceremony.
Ahmadinejad in early January visited Venezuela and three other Latin American countries -- Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador -- in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties in the face of Western efforts to isolate Iran.
The United States, which is leading a sanctions campaign aimed at halting Iran’s controversial nuclear program, warned Latin American states against deepening their ties with Iran.