The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) is the official state-sponsored news agency of Iran. For over 60 years the IRNA has served as the only approved media outlet for news concerning the Middle East in Iran.
The IRNA first began in 1934 as the Pars Agency. It served under the Iranian Foreign Ministry as a puppet press release organization, providing news snippets from the government to local, national, and international press affiliates.
Besides being the primary government media outlet, it also served as the communications department for the government, delivering classified bulletins to high-ranking public officials.
1954 marked the first broadcast of Pars News Radio. The news was broadcast in both French and Persian and was offered in syndication to radio stations throughout the world. In 1963, Pars was moved under the Information Ministry and renamed the Pars News Agency, or PANA. In 1975, PANA was converted into a publicly-traded company, worth approximately 300 million rials (US $60M).
In 1979, following the Islamic revolution Iran, the Information Ministry was renamed the Ministry of National Guidance, and two years later, PANA was renamed the Islamic Republic News Agency.
The current goal of the IRNA is to become a major part of news branches across the globe. Through various agreements with international press agencies such as AP, AFP, and UPI, the IRNA's reporting and press releases can be found in over 100 countries worldwide.
The company produces 7 periodicals, including Iran Varzeshi, a monthly sports magazine, and all 3 daily newspapers in the country. The company also became famous as the first government organization in Iran to get on the Web, in 1996. Their Tehran headquarters also houses the only Internet cafè in Iran.
As mentioned earlier, the company produces its own news programs, and operates 30 radio stations and 7 TV stations in the country. The IRNA also runs the School of Media Studies, where students can earn BAs in Journalism, Photography, and Broadcasting.
The IRNA's website is http://www.irna.com/. They have an amazing photo archive of the past 40 years there, and the site's news content and information is surprisingly moderate and objective, considering the general fundamentalist nature of its government.
I personally frequent this site a lot, as it is the most well-managed and informative site on news involving Islamic countries worldwide. There is very little analysis or opinions expressed here, but then again, you can find plenty of that anywhere else you want to look.