The U.S. Department of Justice and Commerce Department have seized about three dozen websites, many of them linked to Iranian disinformation activities, U.S. government sources told Reuters and the US government on Tuesday. Associated Press.
An official announcement from the US government is expected later.
Sites appear to include the English-language TV outlet of Iranian state media, the Al Masirah satellite news channel run by Yemeni yachts, and the Arabic-language Al-Alam language TV channel of the Iranian state.
In what appears to be coordinated action, a similar message appears on the websites of Iranian and regional television networks stating that the domains of the websites have been “hijacked by the United States Government”. pic.twitter.com/JloU56LvpL
– Press TV (@PressTV) June 22, 2021
A visit to the sites issued an alert to the US government on Tuesday. The notice says the websites have been hijacked “as part of law enforcement actions” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Bureau of Investigation. of Export and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The US government has also taken over the domain name of the Palestine Today news website, which reflects the views of Gaza-based groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, redirecting the site toward the same warning.
Last October, the Justice Department announced that it had killed nearly 100 websites linked to the powerful Revolutionary Guard of Iran. The United States has said the sites, which worked under the guise of real shops, were waging a “global disinformation campaign” to influence US policy and push Iranian propaganda around the world.
The move comes just days after Iran’s hard-fought election of Iran’s top justice, Ibrahim Raisi, known for his hostility to Western countries.
Raisi’s elections are seen as a blow to efforts to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal, from which it was previous. US President Donald Trump has retired in 2017.
Raisi took a hard line in his first press conference. He ruled out the possibility of meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden or negotiating Tehran’s ballistic missile program and support for regional militias – concerns the Biden administration wants to address in future talks.
This decision has seen Iran, over time, gradually abandon any limits on uranium enrichment even as it continues to deal with European nations seeking to salvage the agreement.
The country is now uranium enrichment at 60 percent, its highest level ever, even if it’s still short at weapon level.
American and European partners participated in six rounds of talk informally in Vienna in recent weeks. Iranian and US officials did not meet face to face. Diplomats said on June 20 that negotiations had made progress and that a decision was now up to the governments involved.
Press TV, launched in June 2007, is perhaps the best known of the seized sites. It is the English language service of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
There are no private radio or television stations in Iran. Satellite dishes, although widespread, are also illegal. This leaves IRIB with the monopoly of domestic waves.
Marzieh Hashemi, a prominent TV Press presenter who, in 2019, was arrested as a material witness in an unspecified criminal case and was presented before a grand jury in Washington, told the Associated Press that the channel was fighting to “understand the reasons” for the seizure. .
While it was broadcast in Iran, Press TV focused mainly on international affairs through the lens of how leaders in Iran view the world. Fierce criticism of the British, the United States and Israeli foreign policy is common. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the IRIB has been in the hands of the hardliners who support the Iranian government.
Supporters of Press TV see the site’s editorial line as anti-Zionist, but the outlet has already had problems with Western authorities over its reports. The Anti-Defamation Law has criticized the channel as “one of the world’s leading dispensaries of conspiracy anti-Semitism in English”.