Iran's version of YouTube hits the Web

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Associated Press

Posted on December 9, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 9 at 11:06 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says it has launched a video-sharing website in the latest move to create government-sanctioned alternatives to Internet powerhouses such as YouTube.

The Web page of Iranian state TV says the new site — Mehr, or affection in Farsi — seeks to promote Iranian and Islamic culture and artists. It's unclear, however, how heavily the site, www.mehr.ir , will be monitored or censored.

Western websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked by Iranian officials, who claim Western bloggers and governments are waging a "soft war" against the Islamic Republic.

Iran also says it is seeking to create its own Internet universe scrubbed of Western content, but experts in cyber-technology question whether any country can completely break away from it.

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