The United States has taken down several Iranian state-owned news sites whom they accused of spreading disinformation.
Iran’s President-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, during a news conference in Tehran on Tuesday, announced that the move came amid the wider heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
While making the announcement, the US Justice Department said the move is a far-reaching crackdown on Iranian media amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
The Department noted that 33 of the seized websites were used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union which was singled out by the U.S. government last October for what officials described as efforts to spread disinformation and sow discord among American voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The U.S. government added that 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, though the group is separate from the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group whose news websites has remained operational.
The takedowns come as world powers scramble to resurrect Tehran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal and just days after the election victory of Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief, Raisi.
On Monday, Raisi, known for his hostility to the West, staked out a hard-line position in his first news conference.
He ruled out the possibilities of meeting with President Joe Biden or negotiating over Tehran’s ballistic missile program and support for regional militias which has remained of great concern for the Biden administration.
Relations between Iran and the U.S. have deteriorated for years following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Tehran’s nuclear deal and the return of devastating sanctions on the country.
By Isaac Dachen…
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