June 23, 2021
WASHINGTON—The US authorities have seized a range of Iran’s state-linked news website domains.
According to the US Justice Department, 33 of the seized websites were used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union for spreading propaganda and disinformation.
On Tuesday, Iran state television’s English-language website Press TV, Iranian state TV’s Arabic-language channel, Al-Alam were displaying a federal takedown notice. It said the websites were seized “as part of law enforcement action” by the US Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The US government also took over the domain name of the news website Palestine Today, which reflects the viewpoints of Gaza-based Islamic militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, redirecting the site to the same takedown notice.
Three other seized websites were operated by the Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group, Kata’ib Hizballah, which more than a decade ago was designated a foreign terrorist organization. The group is separate from the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group whose news websites remained operational.
According to Washington Post, most of the domains seized appeared to be “.net,” “.com” and “.tv” domains. Seizing a domain on a major country-specific top-level domain such as Iran’s “.ir” would be apt to produce widespread international condemnation as a violation of sovereignty.
The Justice Department announcement came hours after the Iranian state-run news agency IRNA reported that the American government seizures of Iranian websites without providing further information.
Press TV, launched in June 2007, is the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting’s English-language service. Its Iran-based website, PressTV.ir, was not affected.
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