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IRIB launches YouTube rival ‘Mehr’

The Iranian state broadcaster IRIB has launched a video sharing site as an alternative to YouTube.

The website is called ‘Mehr’, meaning affection in Farsi, and it aims to attract Persian-speaking users and also promote Iranian culture.

“From now on, people can upload their short films on the website and access (IRIB) produced material,” said IRIB deputy chief Lotfollah Siahkali.

A Facebook page dedicated to Mehr is providing links to some of its content, including music clips produced in Iran.

Iran already has a popular video website, Aparat, run by the company behind Farsi-language social network Cloob, but Mehr is the first state-backed incursion into YouTube territory in the country. While there is no data yet available about the use of Mehr, Aparat, which has been around for a couple of years, is the 13th most popular website in Iran according to web-stat provider Alexa.

Aparat is based in Iran and abides by local laws governing its content but has international sponsors including electronics firm LG.

In April it was announced there would be an Iranian version of Facebook and a new email service, to be called Iran Mail.