Iran | SAT-7
Known internationally as Persia until 1935, modern day Iran has an average population of 66 million. One of the first areas to be occupied by Islamic armies in the 6th and 7th centuries, Iran maintains much of its religious history in its present-day culture, in the form of architecture, art and literature, which continue to draw inspiration from aspects of traditional Shiite Islam. The official language is Persian, which is considered by many in the area to be the language of intellectuals.
Iran became an Islamic Republic in 1979, following the Iranian Revolution, when Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the monarchy and established a very conservative, theocratic regime, relying on religious scholars to create and implement new laws. Presidents are elected by popular vote, but the heads of judiciary, media, police and military are appointed by the Supreme Leader, a religious scholar and Ayatollah, who is the only person in Iran with the authority to declare war or peace. The president is the second highest ranking official in Iran. The legal system operates under Sharia Law.
Iran is home to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan refugees. An estimated third of these are illegal migrants. There have been increased reports in recent years of child and woman trafficking from refugee camps across Iran for forced marriages, cheap labour and for the settling of debts. Due to its proximity to Afghanistan’s poppy fields and inefficient border control, Iran has one of the world’s highest opiate addiction rates.1
Surveys conducted in 2011 indicate that around 1.7 million people over 15 years of age watch SAT-7. In addition around 5 million Iranians admit to being aware of SAT-7 PARS, SAT-7’s Farsi language channel.
The majority of Iran’s population, 89%, are Shiite Muslims, with another 9% Sunni Muslims, and a minority Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian population. Shiite Islam is the official religion. Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism are all officially recognised in Iran and the constitution grants freedom of religion. However, the reality for many Christians is one of opposition, discrimination and detainment.
“I am calling on behalf of our house group; we are 10–15 Christians altogether. We were recently caught by the authorities and cannot fellowship anymore. Please pray for us to be able to meet again. At the moment your programmes are the only fellowship we have.” A man from Shiraz
1. CIA World Factbook
CHANNELS IN IRAN
"I would like to congratulate you for your excellence in drawing children's attention to your channel day after day. It is an honour for SAT-7 KIDS team to bring joy to my son's heart each year."Father of a SAT-7 KIDS viewer in Egypt
"To the most beautiful channel in the world. I am from Egypt living in Saudi Arabia. I would like to thank you so much for your great ministry which has dramatically changed my life here in this country."Viewer in Saudi Arabia
"My family and I came to Christ and we are big fans and regular viewers of SAT-7. God bless you."Man from Morocco
"May God bless you all. We ask Jesus to extend His hand, as nothing is too difficult for Him. We pray that He would give comfort to victims’ families in Aleppo and all of Syria. And we pray that He would stop this storm."A Syrian viewer of 'Just for You'
"SAT-7 reaches our family in this desert to give us hope where there is none. Our kids know Jesus through you and the miracles he is doing... Through this small TV screen, you reach our heart, we hear the news of Heaven and you give us relief, we feel home where we don't feel it and know we have a Big family in Christ, caring and praying and working."A family in Saudi Arabia
"Your programmes provide such a wonderful opportunity for me to explain to my children what we believe as Christians in ways they understand. It really is a precious thing to have this channel."A MOTHER IN TURKEY
"I am touched by the sermons that I’m watching every Friday. I’m not able to go to church but God has opened a door for me to attend a church service in my house every week! I never thought that one day I would see bold Algerians worshipping the Lord and not afraid to be shown on TV."An Algerian viewer
"Five years ago I started seeking for the truth in different religions. I was lost, confused and wanted to reach out to God. I really needed comfort and peace. Thank God I found peace and the truth through the programmes and the songs on my favourite channel SAT-7."A woman from Saudi Arabia
"I was watching the programme 'School of Christ' and Pastor Sameh Maurice was saying, 'I came for you.' I felt that these words were addressed to me personally from God. I am so touched and moved. I also want to thank you for all the programs you are airing on your channel."A doctor in Egypt
"I came to know Christ through your programmes. I tried to talk about Jesus to my family but they didn’t want to listen to me. So I turn the TV on during your programmes and, without saying a word, allow your programmes to talk to my family about Jesus Christ. And now they sit and watch the programmes!"An Iranian woman from Tabriz
"Thank you for your wonderful programme "Daughter of the King". I learnt a lot about how I should treat my future wife as I am now in the search for someone to marry. God bless you."An Egyptian man
"Finally, a Syrian programme has come to us! May God bless you and use you to the glory of His name."A viewer of 'Just for You'
"I am a big fan a regular viewer of your wonderful channel, SAT-7 programmes."Male viewer, Morocco
"Although I am not a Christian, because of you I am becoming closer to God."Viewer in Kuwait
"I'm Maya, 3 and a half years old from Amman, watching your bedtime story every night and can't go to bed before listening to your stories. Mama also watching with me."From a young child in Jordan