Report: Iran arrests 11 over text messages deemed insulting to Islamic Republic's founder

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TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian newspaper says 11 people have been arrested in the south after allegedly sending text messages deemed insulting to the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Haft-e-Sobh daily on Monday quoted Col. Ismaeil Mohebipour of the Revolutionary Guard, as saying the arrests were made after social networking applications on mobile phones — such as WhatsApp, Viber, Line and Tango — were monitored.

Iran's judiciary has demanded that moderate President Hassan Rouhani's government ban such applications.

Khomeini established Iran's clerical rule after leading a popular revolt that overthrew the pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. Khomeini remains highly respected.

Mohebipour says the arrested offenders "acknowledged their errors" but did not elaborate on their texts. He says the case has been handed over to the courts.

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