“SAT-7 PARS has been impacting and changing people’s lives for 15 years,” says Panayiotis Keenan, Executive Director of SAT-7 PARS. “It is also a platform for viewers to express themselves to the world, and [is] a voice for the voiceless, for those who have been silenced and isolated. With the enthusiasm, dedication, and determination of the team, I am positive that we will continue to make God’s love visible for many years to come.”
It is a privilege to have the opportunity to serve Christians who face the threat of persecution on a daily basis. Many believers are in daily contact with the channel and its dedicated Audience Relations counselors to ask for prayer, support, and guidance to help them deal with a variety of issues.
SAT-7 PARS was launched in 2006 as the second channel in the SAT-7 family, broadcasting Christian programs to support the growing Christian community in Iran and among the Persian-speaking diaspora. Although it was known that the Iranian Church was growing, it was difficult to quantify the number of new Christians or house churches. Yet, many pastors and believers inside Iran remained optimistic. We now know, through independent research in 2020, that at least one million Iranians identify as Christian.
But it has not always been so. In the early days, after the 1979 Revolution, all seemed lost for the small Persian-speaking Iranian church. While under the Shah’s government, Christians were able to openly practice their faith. By some estimates, there were no more than 500 new believers across the entire nation.
After the Iranian revolution in 1979, things changed as people became disillusioned with their new leaders and began to look elsewhere for answers. The Church began to grow, leading to the martyrdom of Christian leaders like Haik Hovsepian, Hossein Soodmand, and Mehdi Dibaj (the last two charged with apostasy because of their conversion).
As Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24).
These courageous believers paved the way and helped to lift up the name of Jesus among Iranians. The Church grew, and the need to support Persian-speaking Christians who were unable to freely meet became clear.
Initially, in September 2002, Iranian Christian Broadcasting (ICB) began broadcasting one hour per week on SAT-7’s Arabic channel. Over the next few years, Persian programming grew to 18 hours.
In 2006, ICB became a part of SAT-7 as SAT-7 PARS and started to broadcast 24/7. Today, its programs are aired via satellite and online via the SAT-7 PLUS streaming platform.
In addition to Iran, SAT-7 PARS now has viewers in Tajikistan and a large audience in Afghanistan. There, its programs and viewer support teams have become a precious lifeline of encouragement, teaching, and guidance, especially since the advance and return to power of the Taliban.
The mission of SAT-7 PARS remains to provide inspirational programs for Persian-speaking peoples to faithfully and clearly present Christ in a way that is relevant to the cultural, religious, and political climate of the region, and to provide the churches and Christians in the region an opportunity to grow in their faith and develop their leadership and ministry skills.