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    APP-ATOLLAH ‘Death To America’ emoji featured in Iran’s new state-run WhatsApp rival

    IRAN is promoting a new home-grown chat app that includes a “Death to America”emoji.
    The shocking icon depicts a veiled woman holding a placard with the message scrawled across it.
    Soroush Messenger” also includes stickers wishing death to Israel and Freemasons.
    The app, which comes with the blessing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, touts similar features to WhatsApp.
    According to its website, Soroush is available on iOS and Android, and after a quick search we were able to download it on the Google Play Store.
    Surprisingly, the app is available in English, making it relatively straightforward to track down the offending emojis and proliferate them.
    We reached out to Google to confirm if it’s aware of the app and plans to shut it down – we will update this article with its response.
    We couldn’t find an active link for Soroush on the iOS App Store, and have got in touch with Apple to confirm whether it was removed.
    The controversial app’s main rival in Iran is Telegram, a similar chat service used by around 50 million Iranians due to its strong security and privacy perks.
    But the authorities are threatening to ban it after blaming it for spreading anti-establishment protests in the country in December.
    Meanwhile Iran’s Supereme Cyberspace Council has prohibited public institutions from using foreign apps.
    Khamenei is seemingly leading the war on Telegram, having already deleted his profiles on the messaging platform and urging users to join him on Soroush instead.
    But some Iranians aren’t convinced.
     
    One joke currently being circulated on social media says that Soroush’s three-tick message receipt notification (as opposed to the two ticks on WhatsApp and Telegram) signifies that an intelligence officer is intercepting the messages, according to the BBC.

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