In the recent weeks, a great wave of SMS messages in the social media that ridicule the founder of the Islamic Republic Khomeini, as well as other leaders of this regime, was followed by swift reaction on part of regime’s security and intelligence commanders. In public and private statements, regime’s officials called for the filtering, repression and apprehension of social network netizens.
For example, Kamal Hadifar, the Chief of FTA (cyber-police), announced on September 12 that “private messages in the social networks such as viber and whatsapp are controlled by this police”.
On September 21, the revolutionary guards commander in Sarallah District of city of Shiraz reported on the arrest of 11 on the charge of “production and republishing insulting material” against Khomeini in the social networks and phones. Esmaeil Mohebbipour told ISNA News Agency that these individuals had been identified and arrested after the monitoring of social networks such as whatsapp, line, viber, tango and telegram on mobile phones.
On October 2, the Head of mullahs’ Judiciary Sadeq Larijani called these SMS messages “criminal text” and added that the judiciary system is obliged to confront it.
It is notable that the foremost communication company for internet services in Iran is owned and controlled by the revolutionary guards (IRGC) and it scrupulously monitors the communications inside the country.
The opposition and dissent of the youth with the culture and laws governing Iran is such that despite all the restrictions and suppression, they extensively voice their opinions on the internet and in the social networks or use these communications to obtain information.
According to official statistics, 67% of the Iranian people use the internet and of these, 70%, especially the youth, use anti-filtering devices that are illegal to circumvent filtering and censorship by the regime. Only 30% that include government employees and officials or merchants affiliated with the regime use the internet in its official form.
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