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Persian-Language TV Station To Debut In Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan

DUSHANBE -- A Tajik-Afghan-Iranian television channel is expected to make its first broadcast in March, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Tajik Culture Minister Mirzoshohrukh Asrori told RFE/RL that the joint station's first program will be aired during celebrations of the ancient Norouz holiday on March 21-23 that marks the first day of spring. He said the programs aired by the station will focus mainly on cultural issues.

Iran, Tajikistan, and many regions in Afghanistan speak various dialects of Persian that are mutually intelligible. In 2006, the three countries' leaders met in Dushanbe and agreed to establish a joint television channel.

Iranian Ambassador to Dushanbe Ali Asghar Sherdust told RFE/RL that the agreement's implementation has been postponed due to some reservations expressed by Afghan officials. He said the issue will be resolved soon.

Iranian media outlets report that Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad invited his Tajik and Afghan counterparts, Emomali Rahmon and Hamid Karzai, respectively, to celebrate Norouz in the ancient Iranian city of Shiraz this year.