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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 22:04 GMT 23:04 UK
Iran to launch Hebrew service
Anti-US demonstration in Tehran
Iran condemns US support for Israel
Iranian state radio is launching a half-hour daily broadcast in Hebrew aimed at countering what Tehran views as "one-sided" news in the region.

The official Iranian news agency, Irna, said the radio broadcast - known as Voice of David - would start on Tuesday and its is expected to target Middle Eastern Jews, especially in Israel.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivers a speech
Iran wants to counter Israeli broadcasts in Farsi
The bulletin will go out on short wave from 2330 to 0000 (1900 to 1930 GMT), another Iranian source was quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP.

The BBC's Jim Muir, in Tehran, says that the move is probably a question of tit-for-tat propaganda as Israel radio broadcasts in the Farsi language to Iran.

Israel's broadcasts are quite widely listened to, along with Farsi transmissions by the BBC, the Voice of America and other outside stations which many Iranians turn to for news, especially in the evenings.

Iran does not recognise Israel and supports the Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Irna said the Hebrew broadcasts were aimed at "countering the monopoly on one-sided news broadcasts" in the Middle East.

But they will not be heard by listeners inside Iran, which is home to about 25,000 Jews - the largest Jewish community in the region outside Israel.

Interviews translated

Our correspondent says some Iranian Jews have already been interviewed for the Voice of David, although their contributions will have to be translated from Farsi, because their Hebrew isn't good enough.

Iran's 1979 revolution inspired Islamic militants across the Middle East.

Tehran condemns US support for Israel and has also been angered by Washington's inclusion of Iran in an "axis of evil".

Israeli officials say Iran is less than three years away from developing a nuclear weapon - but Tehran insists its nuclear research is purely for civilian purposes.

See also:

11 Feb 02 | Middle East
17 Dec 01 | Media reports
24 Apr 01 | Middle East
23 Jan 01 | Media reports
21 Sep 00 | Middle East
27 Dec 01 | Country profiles
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