Farsi station eyes Jerusalem for bureau

Head of Council for Democratic Iran visits Israel.

Israel may be the long-term beneficiary of a Farsi language Washington-based television channel, if the plans of Iranian-born Dr. Behrooz Behbudi come to fruition.
The scion of a prominent Iranian family, several of whose members served in the courts of the Shahs, Behbudi is the founding president of the Council for a Democratic Iran, which he established in February, 2008, and which, like his television station WIN-TV, which he launched in September, 2009, is headquartered in Washington.
Currently on his first visit to Israel to explore the possibility of opening a bureau in Jerusalem, Behbudi, who is well-versed in the history of relations between his native land and Israel, well remembers that prior to the Islamic revolution and the fall of the Pahlevi monarchy in 1979, Iran had excellent diplomatic and trade ties with Israel.
Even beyond that, Behbudi notes that during the Babylonian exile, King Cyrus, who ruled the Persian Empire that included Babylon, restored the rights of the Jews and allowed them to return to Jerusalem and build the Temple.
Behbudi, who has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, says that Israel can serve as role model for teaching democracy to the Iranians.
“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and it’s proven effective,” he said.
Through his television channel, Behbudi wants to show Iranians that democracy works and that both Israel and the US are democratic countries and not the satanic regimes portrayed by the Ahmadinejad administration.
Since the revolution, he says, some six million Iranian refugees havefound a home and a haven in democratic countries, “especially the US,which opened its arms to refugees who were rejected by the IslamicRepublic.”
Television is a tool to make Iranians aware of thenews and the truth that the government of the Islamic Republic isdenying them, says Behbudi.
He is particular keen to expand theoperations of his channel to counter the penetration of Ahmadinejad’spolicies into television broadcasts around the globe.
“Even the Voice of America broadcasts what he says,” said Behdubi.
WIN-TV,located in the Reuters office, is currently seen via the Galaxy 19satellite in North and South America, and worldwide on the Web. Itbroadcasts for one-and-a-half hours each day, and will expand itsprogramming schedule at the end of Spring this year, when it will alsobegin beaming its signal via the Nilesat satellite to the Middle Eastand Southern Europe. The channel will then fully launch with a newbrand name AINN (American Iranian News Network), providing free andpolitically independent expression throughout Iran and the Middle East.
It will then broadcast for four hours a day, seven days a week.
So far, says Behbudi, the channel has received a great deal of positive feedback from the Iranian diaspora.
Heanticipates that once it begins beaming to Iran, there will be some30-40 million additional viewers. He is also reasonably confident thathe will find support for his efforts in Israel, and that suchcooperation could be a major contributing factor to peace in the region.