(AP) — American authorities seized a range of Iran’s state-linked news website domains they accused of spreading “disinformation” on Tuesday, a U.S. official said, a move that appeared to be a far-reaching crackdown on Iranian media amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case had not yet been officially announced by the American government, said the U.S. had effectively taken down roughly three dozen websites, the majority linked to Iranian disinformation efforts. Iranian state-run news agency IRNA announced the U.S. government seizures without providing further information.
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, Ebrahim 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 — concerns the Biden administration wants addressed in future talks. Relations between Iran and the U.S. have deteriorated for years following then-President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Tehran’s nuclear deal and return of devastating sanctions on the country. READ MORE