Iran to launch Russian-language television “as a top priority”

Iranian state television’s foreign service director Payman Jebelli said in an interview with Tasnim News Agency on Monday that launching a Russian-language television channel was state television’s top priority.

Jebelli said: “We have prepared the infrastructure for the network, but we are still discussing whether it should be a news channel or a drama channel.”

Iranian State TV’s domestic and foreign broadcasts carry Shiite news and ideology as well as channels propagating the anti-American worldview of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Jebelli said IRIB has converted its Russian radio station to an internet TV service since January 2020, but “we have been thinking about developing the program further.” Iran likely intends to target audiences in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, an idea which cannot be welcomed by Russia.

Meanwhile, Jebelli told Tasnim that IRIB’s external services are likely to have a budget independent of the IRIB and the executive branch. He added that he was discussing the issue of the independent budget with the government and “other places”, possibly meaning Khamenei’s office, which directly oversees state radio and television.

IRIB programs in many languages ​​broadcasting programs in the Middle East via Al Alam TV and iFilm (in Arabic), in France, in Africa, in the former Soviet and Balkan republics (via the Sahar and Al Kowthar networks) in South America (via Hispan TV) as well as in Europe and the United States (Press TV). However, the popularity of Iranian television has waned over the years inside and outside the country due to its propaganda nature.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb