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 have Christian roots and it makes me really happy that I’m able to watch a Christian channel without any problem. So I’m tuning in and watching from early each morning in order to understand Christianity. What better way to spend your retirement could there be? Thank you so much. "Retired teacher in Turkey
"Thank you SAT-7 for your concerns and taking the time to talk about our issues and to all who stand for our cause."Viewer of 'Needle and Thread' episode which highlighted discrimination against Sudanese refugees in Egypt
""Dear brothers and sisters, I live in Azerbaijan and I am the only Christian where I live. I really like this channel and it encourages me so much. May God keep blessing you." "SAT-7 TÜRK viewer
"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
"Thank you for today's sermon by Dr Maher Samuel. We really need to hear these words; to change the reality with Jesus living in us and to live the life of victory over sins, the life of sanctification and to return to the Word of God.""Viewer of live service from KDEC church, Cairo
"I started to read the Bible and to watch SAT-7 PARS. Gradually I felt some difference in my heart and realised that I love God. This even changed my mind on emigrating. Therefore I stayed in Iran and now I am one of your viewers. Your programmes are the only source I have to build my faith."A viewer in Tehran
"My family and I came to Christ and we are big fans and regular viewers of SAT-7. God bless you."Man from Morocco
"I would like to thank each one who works on my favourite channel, SAT-7. You are the source of blessing to my life. I pray that the Lord bless you and use you more for His glory."A Syrian woman
"Yesterday evening I came across you while channel surfing. I watched a couple of very nice programmes. I especially liked the movie explaining the Prophet Abraham's life. I had previously read the Bible, but I do not really understand, are you able to help me?"Student 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
"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
"I would like to thank you for your marvellous efforts in serving our children. Enough to say that we leave them in front of SAT-7 KIDS with full trust of your commitment to supplement our parenting."Parent in Egypt
"Although I am not a Christian, because of you I am becoming closer to God."Viewer in Kuwait
"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'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