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Raha TV, Iranian opposition channel, launches in London

Amir Hossein Jahashahi, a businessman opposed to the Iranian regime, said he started the channel to promote "free and independent" information — and to "decapitate the current regime.”

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Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi is seen on a TV screen delivering a speech at the opening day of the United Nation Human Rights Council annual session on Feb. 27, 2012 in Geneva. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Iranian opposition has a new voice: Raha TV.

The London-based television channel was launched Thursday by Amir Hossein Jahashahi, a businessman and founder of the opposition movement Green Wave, who said he started the channel to promote "free and independent" information, according to Agence France Presse.

According to Sky News, Jahashahi's father was a finance minister under the government of the late Shah, whose overthrow ushered in Iran's first supreme leader.

In spite of his talk of editorial independence, Jahashahi isn't shy about declaring his agenda to “decapitate the current regime,” as he told Russia Today.

“Raha TV is the TV for change because this regime is immoral, inhuman and unreasonable,” Jahashahi said during a press conference, according to AFP.

"Raha" means "free" in Persian. The channel will broadcast inside Iran over the Internet and via satellite. A third of its staff — 20 people — will consist of freelancers in Iran, AFP said.

In commentary for Sky News, Foreign Affairs Aditorm Tim Marshall wrote that Raha stands little chance of penetrating the Iranian media market, considering the elaborate systems of censorship in place inside Iran.

"Even if it can occasionally circumvent the restrictions, it is up against the vastly influential state TV and radio which broadcasts into just about every home in a country of 80 million people," Marshall wrote, adding, "Raha TV is a rich man's plaything which will have minimal effect."

Russia Today pointed out that Raha launched just a little over a week after 19 state-run Iranian radio and television stations were banned inside the European Union.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/121025/raha-tv-iranian-opposition-channel-launches-london