Iran (MNN) — Protesters gathered yesterday to mark the tenth anniversary of a student uprising against the Islamic regime. Calm seemed to have resumed following the June 12 elections, but this recent gathering was dispersed violently.
An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people assembled at Tehran University, the site of the 1999 uprising.
Yesterday's events were foreseen, according to some news sources who report that Iran's government had not given a demonstration permit. The government has cracked down on civilian freedoms and interactions since the unrest after the elections– including restrictions placed on cell phone and satellite signals. SAT-7 's Terry Ascott said their Christian broadcasts have suffered.
"The truth is that many of the satellite channels, including ours, are blocked from certain parts of the country, and I'm not sure how they're doing it. It's some new technology, because until now, it's not really been possible to block multiple
satellite channels coming into the country without up-linking interference to the satellite," said Ascott.
Ascott doesn't believe that the problem is going to go away anytime soon as far as peace is concerned. "There's been a fundamental undermining of trust in the regime, so this is a new dynamic. It's not something that can be put back, if you like, in the bottle–it's out. It's something that's going to be on the agenda for the coming year unless it's resolved quickly."
The interruptions of satellite signals are happening mostly in Tehran. The programs that do make it
through there and elsewhere are meeting ready hearts. "People caught up in this kind of change are, perhaps, more open than ever to the Gospel of Christ," said Ascott.
SAT-7's programs address living in tension and include encouraging verses such as 1 Peter 5:7 which urges viewers to "cast your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you." SAT-7 planned to send Scriptures to viewers who have registered a mobile phone or e-mail address.
Ascott shared the story of an unbeliever who saw one of SAT-7's programs in Iran. The man was a carpet weaver who was beginning to lose his eyesight. After losing his job, he began to worry about how he would be able to support his children. During a SAT-7 program, he began praying that God would protect his children. In the middle of that night,
his daughter called from Armenia where she was living. She told him that during the time that he was praying, a man dressed in white had come to her house saying her father had
sent him to warn her that there was a gas leak. She called her dad to ask him how he'd known, but he'd been too afraid to tell her that he'd been watching Christian television. Instead, he wrote a letter to SAT-7 telling them his story. Though he said he is not yet a Christian, he is in awe of their God.
The ministry of SAT-7 is having a powerful effect on people who live in areas where the message of Christianity is not well received. Ascott asks for prayer that the broadcasts will stop being interrupted and that the the programs will give hope despite the tension and uncertainty about the future. Pray also that the economic downturn will not affect SAT-7's ability to financially support broadcasting in Iran and other nations.