Iran has closed the local offices of 17 foreign satellite television channels, accusing them of trying to "create division" in the Islamic republic.

"Enemies have established 17 satellite channels in the name of Shia (Islam)," Iran's Deputy Intelligence Minister Mohammad Pour-Fallah told state news agency Fars on 4 January 2015.

He did not specify which satellite channels had been targeted by authorities, nor where they were based.

In August, the offices of some UK and US-based satellite channels, with operations in the Iranian provinces of Qom, Esfahan, Tehran and Khorasan-e Razavi, were also reportedly closed down.

At the time, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said these channels were producing programmes aimed at creating sectarian rifts and "intensifying division in the Muslim World to damage the image of Shiism".

The reception of overseas satellite TV is illegal in Iran, although satellite dishes are a common sight across the country's rooftops. However, the regime has recently issued threats that fines will now be imposed and equipment publically destroyed if the law is flouted.

"Our mission as the one that is in charge is to provide the appropriate conditions and satisfy the people's hunger for TV shows by airing them on our government channels," Abdul Reza Dashti, the head Basij commander in Bushehr, told IRNA news agency in December 2014.

"Although some families aren't aware of the damage that satellite TV does in corrupting the young generation, we should stand firmly against this cultural attack from our enemies on our values and those who are behind this," he added.