US seizes 33 Iranian state-run media sites accused of election disinformation

Enlarge / Website seizure notice that appears on presstv.com.

On Tuesday, the US government said it seized 33 websites run by a branch of the Iranian government that spread disinformation in the US before the 2020 presidential election. The US also seized three websites that it said were operated by an Iraqi terrorist organization.

Yesterday’s Department of Justice announcement said the 33 Iranian sites were used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU), which is owned or controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF). The DOJ said the IRTVU “targeted the United States with disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations.”

“Visitors to leading Iranian media sites like Press TV and Al-Alam, the country’s main English- and Arabic-language broadcasters, as well as the Al-Masirah TV channel of Yemen’s Huthis, were met with single-page statements 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 AFP wrote. The US 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,” The Washington Post reported.

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