The US Justice Department on Tuesday seized nearly three dozen news websites linked to Iran, which it accused of spreading propaganda.
“Today, pursuant to court orders, the United States seized 33 websites used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU) and three websites operated by Kataib Hezbollah (KH), in violation of US sanctions. ” DOJ statement said.
Iranian media confirmed that several state-linked news websites were “seized” by the US government for no apparent reason or explanation.
The sites that were suddenly taken offline included the state television’s English-language Press TV, its Arabic channel al-Alam and the Yemeni Houthi rebels’ al-Masira satellite news channel.
Messages on the websites said the seizures were made “in accordance with a seizure warrant”, and appeared with the seals of the FBI and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
Al-Masirah issued a statement acknowledging its seizure, saying it would continue its mission to “counter American and Israeli acts of piracy against our nation in any way.”
The news channel soon began operating a website under a new domain name, Reuters reported. Press TV also tweeted a new domain name for its website on Tuesday.
Press TV’s website will be available on .ir domain.https://t.co/5RFLgcwFvP
— Press TV (@PressTV) June 22, 2021
Press TV reports international news that is filtered through the lens of Iran’s leaders, the Associated Press reported. It generally criticizes the foreign policy of the United States and Britain.
The move comes days after Iran elected Ibrahim Raisi, a prominent West critic, as its new president.
In October, the US seized 92 domain names It said it was “illegally used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” to spread misinformation.
Domains linked to Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Lebanese military-political faction Hezbollah were also frozen with messages from the US Justice Department, Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday.
Masood Farivar contributed to this report. Some of the material for this article comes from Wire Service Reports.