The news and information channel will be available from early 2008 to anyone in the region with satellite or cable television, the London-based public service broadcaster announced on Tuesday.

The channel is designed to operate alongside the existing BBC World Service Farsi radio and online services. BBC World Service is funded by a grant from Britain's foreign office and the new channel will cost 15 million pounds a year to operate.

"The BBC's Persian radio and online services are well respected by Iranians, especially by opinion-formers," Nigel Chapman, BBC World Service director, said.

"In Iran we are regarded as the most trusted and objective of all international broadcasters ... But television is increasingly dominating the way that millions of Iranian people receive their news.

Editorially independent

"Like all BBC services, the new television service will be editorially independent of the UK government."

Earlier this the Iranian government blocked access to the Persian radio service.

The BBC announced in October last year that it was to launch an Arabic language television station in late 2007 in direct competition with established Arab satellite broadcasters like Aljazeera.

BBC Arabic Television caused job losses in foreign-language BBC World Service radio services aimed mainly at former communist countries.

BBC Farsi television will broadcast from London seven days a week initially for eight hours a day, featuring "accurate, impartial, balanced news and analysis from a global perspective", the broadcaster said in a statement.