More than 40 per cent of Iranians watch television channels beamed into Iran and accessible only by illegal but widespread satellite dishes across the country, a media reports said.
The figure was released by the research department of the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), in what the daily 7 Sobh said was a rare admittance of the popularity of satellite channels in Iran.
According to the report, 42 per cent of more than 75 million Iranians spend approximately three hours watching these channels, which air movies, music and other entertainment programmes as well as news, mostly in Persian, including the BBC's Persian service and the US channel Voice of America.
Authorities consider these channels as part of a "soft war" waged by Western countries against the values and morals of the Islamic republic founded in 1979.
The authorities carry out regular crackdowns to seize satellite dishes, removing them from rooftops, and issue warnings against their use.