US seizes 33 Iranian media websites, including Press TV
US Justice Department has seized 33 Iranian government-affiliated media websites, including Press TV, as well as three websites of the Iraqi group Kataeb Hezbollah, which it said were hosted on US-owned domains in violation of sanctions.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Visitors to leading Iranian media sites such as Press TV and Al-Alam, the country’s main English language and Arabic language broadcasters, as well as the Al-Masirah TV channel of Yemen’s Houthis, were met with single-page statements on Wednesday, declaring the website “has been seized by the United States Government” accompanied by the seals of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Commerce Department.
The 33 websites were held by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (#IRTVU), which is reportedly run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (#IRGC).
Both IRTVU and IRGC have been placed on the US #sanctions_blacklist, making it illegal for Americans, US companies, and foreign or non-American companies with US subsidiaries to have business with them or their subsidiaries.
Kataeb Hezbollah, the Iraqi group which owned three sites that were seized, is a military faction with close ties to Tehran that Washington has formally designated a terror group.
The US government also took over the domain name of the news website Palestine Today, which reflects the viewpoints of Gaza-based groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, redirecting the site to the same notice.
Last October, the US Department of Justice announced it had taken down nearly 100 websites linked to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard.
The US said the sites, operating under the guise of genuine news outlets, were waging a “global disinformation campaign” to influence US policy and push #Iranian_propaganda around the world.
The move came just days after the election victory of Iran’s hardline judiciary chief, Ebrahim #Raisi, known for his hostility to western countries.