BBC Persian Television

BBC Persian Television (Persian: تلویزیون فارسی بی‌بی‌سی) is the BBC's Persian language news channel that was launched on 14 January 2009.[1] The service is broadcast by satellite and is also available online. It is aimed at the 120 million Persian-speakers in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

BBC Persian
Launched14 January 2009 (2009-01-14)
Owned byBBC
Picture format576i (16:9 SDTV)
CountryIran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersBroadcasting House, London
Sister channel(s)List of BBC channels
Channel 15
Eutelsat 7B (Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan)10721 H / 22000 / 3/4
Hot Bird 13B (Europe, Middle East, North Africa)12322 H / 27500 / 5/6
Afghansat 1 (Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan)11294 V / 27500 / 3/4
Al Yah 1 (Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan)11996 V / 27500 / 5/6
Streaming media
BBC Online

Iranian authorities have been known to harass and intimidate family members of the BBC Persian staff.[2] BBC director Mark Thompson said that the staff of BBC Persian had been subject to "increased levels of intimidation alongside disturbing new tactics" by the Iranian government.[3]


The annual budget of £15 million was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,[4] but as with the BBC World Service which is also funded by the FCO, the BBC remains editorially independent,[5] though some Iranian media have accused the British Government of using the service as a propaganda tool.[6] The Iranian government issued a statement denouncing the new service as 'suspicious and illegal', and 'working against the interests of the Islamic Republic'.[4] On 1 April 2014, all World Service funding transfers to the Licence Fee model, which is paid for by all UK residents who watch television as it is broadcast.

As of November 2017, BBC Persian has an audience of 13 million Iranians.[7]


In June 2009, BBC Persian's Hot Bird satellite broadcasts along with those of BBC Arabic Television, other BBC services, and those of other broadcasters were experiencing interference due to a jamming signal originating from within Iran.[8][9][10] In response, BBC Persian started transmission on other satellites and increased their broadcast hours in order to combat the interference[11]

The channel has been accused by Iranian state television of encouraging "illegal" rallies and manipulating the Iranian people against the Islamic Republic, a claim which the BBC denies.

The jamming resumed on 20 December 2009 soon after BBC Persian began extended coverage of the protests resulting from the death of leading reformist cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri,[12] and on 28 December 2009, BBC Persian ceased its transmission from the Hot Bird 6 satellite.,[13] however transmissions continued from the Telstar 12, Eutelsat W2M and Atlantic Bird 4A satellites.[14]

BBC Persian returned to a different frequency on Hot Bird 6 [15] on 26 May 2010, after a period of test transmissions.[14] After a new jamming in February 2011 on Hotbird, BBC Persian showed for some months only a test card along with the audio of their service. Since February 2012 BBC Persian has resumed broadcasting on Hotbird again.

Due to the ban on foreign reporters in Iran, the news service currently relies on a significant amount of user-generated content, often taken with mobile phones.[16]

In 2017 Iranian authorities seized the Iranian assets of 152 contributors to BBC Persian, while in 2016 they detained former BBC World Service Trust employee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.[7][17]

The Iranian government has "targeted" the members and family members of BBC Persian through threats, intimidation, and arrests. In 2018 the BBC made a request to the UN Human Rights Council to "stop Iran from harassing its Persian service staff in London and their families in Iran."[18][19]


It appears that Iranian presidential election, 2009 and what followed greatly elevated BBC Persian TV's stature and importance. It became the channel that extensively covered the events for the Iranians inside Iran. Outside of Iran, the channel was therefore recognised accordingly.

On 4 November 2009, BBC Persian TV was honoured for the "Clearest coverage of a single news event – television" by the Association for International Broadcasting at its annual global media excellence awards at a gala event in London, England. The award was for "the elections that shook Iran".[20] It was a half-hour narration of the unrest that developed in the streets of Iran immediately after the disputed June presidential elections.

On 20 November 2009, BBC Persian TV was honoured at the 12th annual Hot Bird TV Awards in Venice, Italy. It was named best news channel for its portrayal of unbiased news in a complex and fast-moving environment.[21]


The channel broadcasts live from studio 44D, a green screen studio in BBC Broadcasting House, London, for nine hours every day (13:30-22:30 GMT, 17:00-02:00 Tehran time). Studio 54D, BBC Persian's home since its launch, is currently being refurbished to enable HD programming and automation of studio equipment.

Repeats of news and entertainment programmes, plus visualised radio bulletins, fill the remaining 15 hours. [22]

Programmes cover a variety of genres including current affairs, documentaries, light entertainment, culture, science, business and the arts. Entertainment programmes such as BBC Sound, Sherlock, Glastonbury Festival and Top Gear are broadcast with Persian dubbing.[22]

Presenters and Correspondents

Jamaluddin Mousavi (Mosawi)

Jamaluddin (Jamal) started working for the BBC in 2001 as a journalist when he joined the BBC's Central Asia magazine in Iran and Afghanistan.[23] Before joining the BBC, Jamal was the editor of a weekly publication for Afghan refugees living in Mashhad, the province capital of Iran's Khorasan province where he also managed a UNHCR project to train young Afghan journalists. Jamal comes from Afghanistan although he grew up and studied in Iran. Jamal is the lead presenter of the flagship 60 Minutes programme.

Rana Rahimpour

Rana presents both news bulletins and the 60 Minutes programme. She also regularly contributes to UN discussions around the treatment of BBC Persian members of staff.

Najieh Ghulami

Najieh Ghulami was born in Afghanistan to a Tajik Herati mother and a Hazara kubuli father. She was three years old when her family moved to Iran in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Najieh began her broadcasting career in 2001 as a reporter for the BBC Persian service in Mashhad: the capital of Khorasan province in northeast Iran. She was the first Persian-speaking journalist to be accredited by the Iranian government to work for the BBC in Iran.[24]

Farnaz Ghazizadeh

Farnaz Ghazizadeh has worked for some of Iran's most respected newspapers, including Neshat, Yas-e Nou and the weekly Zan (Woman). She began her broadcast career in 2000 as the presenter of a daily science programme for Iranian television. In December 2003 Farnaz emigrated to the Netherlands with her family, where she joined several other Iranian journalists to start the news website Roozonline. She joined BBC Persian in 2005 as a radio correspondent. She now presents Page 2, a twice-weekly politics discussion programme.

Majid Afshar

Majid Afshar has worked for English language news network Press TV for 8 years before joining the BBC in 2014.

Baran Abbasi

Started presenting in 2018

Kasra Naji

Previously a correspondent for the channel, Naji now presents news bulletins.


Nafiseh Kohnavard

A reporter who covers conflict and political news from Turkey to Iraq especially the ISIS atrocities in Sinjar and other locations.

Behrang Tajdin

Behrang covers technology and UK political stories for the Channel.

Jiyar Gol

Turkey correspondent

Pooria Jafereh

Sports correspondent

Khashayar Joneidi

Washington correspondent

Bahman Kalbasi

United States/UN correspondent

Previous Presenters

Fardad Farahzad

Fardad Farahzad is a news presenter and reporter with the BBC Persian TV. He has anchored and covered many major Iranian and international stories for the network, including Iran's Nuclear Program, Arab Spring, 2012 US Presidential Election, Brussels bombings and 2016 Nice attack.

Nader Soltanpour

Soltanpour (in Persian نادر سلطانپور) is an Iranian-Canadian journalist and television news presenter with the BBC World-Persian service. Soltanpour studied finance in Montreal, Canada and for 10 years worked in banks and investment firms in Toronto, Canada. In 1997, while still working in finance, Soltanpour began his journalism career as a producer and presenter of a weekly radio programme called Persian Voice (in Persian رادیو صدای‌ پارسی) for the Iranian and Afghan communities in Toronto, Canada. In 2000, Nader left finance and turned Persian Voice into Canada's first nightly Persian language radio programme. In 2005, he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a copy writer and producer for The World Report, Canada's most-listened-to morning news programme. Nader joined BBC Persian television in July 2008.[24]


Further reading

  • Mitra M. Shahrani (2014). "BBC Persian: Filling the Media Void in the Persian-Speaking World". Asian Politics & Policy. 6 (2): 335–338. doi:10.1111/aspp.12102.


  1. "BBC Awaits response to Persian TV". BBC. 14 January 2009. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  2. "Iran's threats to BBC Persian staff must be confronted". The Guardian.
  3. "Iran accused of intimidating BBC Persian staff". BBC.
  4. Marrin, Minette (14 January 2009). "Bridging the Persian gulf". London: The Times. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  5. Foreign and Commonwealth Office; The British Broadcasting Corporation (1 July 2006). "Broadcasting Agreement for the Provision of the BBC World Service" (PDF). BBC/FCO. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
  6. "Iranian website alleges British government influence in BBC Persian TV". ZIBB. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
  7. "Why has Iran imprisoned Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe?". The Economist. 16 November 2017. Archived from the original on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) BBC says its satellite broadcasts being disrupted from Iran
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) BBC adds more satellites for its Persian TV service
  11. Luft, Oliver (19 June 2009). "Iran elections: BBC World Service battles satellite interference". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 January 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) BBC Persian television broadcasting despite interference from Iran
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Kingofsat - "2009-12-28 BBC Persian has left 11117.00MHz"
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Kingofsat - "BBC Persian (All satellites)"
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "(Hotbird Service Provider)"
  16. BBC Persian works round restrictions Archived 26 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine, BBC News, 2009-06-23.
  17. Nursey, Caroline (5 July 2016). "In the matter of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe and Iran" (PDF). BBC Media Action. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  18. "Women in Iran need America's help. Why won't we give it to them?". Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  19. "BBC UN appeal: Stop Iran harassing Persian service staff". Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  20.,95&content_id=2047 Archived 3 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  21. Turner, Mimi (20 November 2009). "BBC Persian News tops Hot Bird nods". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 23 November 2009.
  22. "BBC Persian TV". BBC. Archived from the original on 21 January 2009.
  23. "BBC - Press Office - Persian TV press pack: services". Archived from the original on 31 December 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  24. "BBC World Service - World Agenda - BBC Persian TV". Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
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