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Iran launches news channel in Spanish

Iran on Wednesday launches a television news service for Spanish-speakers worldwide, the channel said.

HispanTV, financed by the Iranian government, broadcasts from Tehran, screening news and documentaries in Spanish around the clock.

The channel plans “to reach millions of people in Latin America, the United States and Europe,” a statement on its website said.

“The launch is today around 3:00 pm” (1400 GMT), said a publicist for the channel in Spain, Lola Garcia, on Wednesday.

She said the channel was run by the Iranian state and has three staff in Madrid, with several Spanish and Latin American journalists working at its base in Tehran, “and correspondents around the world.”

“They are not going to spread religious news. Just entertainment and news, but not religious,” Garcia said.

Headlines on HispanTV’s website, live for a year ahead of the broadcast launch, covered a range of world stories including alleged US spying in Iran, the IMF and the economic crisis, and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Trailers for forthcoming documentaries on the channel included subjects such as the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“HispanTV is born with a great social vocation, aiming principally to build bridges of understanding between the people of Iran, Latin America and the Middle East by broadcasting content often ignored by other media,” the channel said in a statement.

The channel will also broadcast television dramas and films.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that Saudi Arabia plans to launch another Spanish-language channel, Cordoba Television, next month. Saudi officials in Madrid were not immediately available to confirm it on Wednesday.