The US Department of Justice announced that it had “captured” 33 Iranian media sites and three Iraqi sites affiliated with the “Hezbollah Brigades” that were hosted by domains owned by the United States in violations of the imposed sanctions.
“Based on court decisions, the United States has seized 33 websites used by the Islamic Radio and Television Union and three websites used by Hezbollah in violation of US sanctions,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
But the ministry did not reveal the identity of the US companies that own these domains that host these sites, and did not clarify the measures that would be taken in violation of these sanctions.
The Islamic Radio and Television Union is on the American blacklist, which prevents Americans and American and foreign companies from doing business with it or its affiliates.
– An exceptional threat –
The same message appeared on the websites of both the Arabic-language Iranian news channel “Al-Alam” and its English-language sister channel “Press-TV”, which are affiliated with the Iranian state television network “IRIB”, indicating that it had been “conquered” by the US government and appended the FBI seal. The FBI and the Department of Commerce.
These measures came within the framework of exercising presidential powers in the face of an exceptional threat to what was stated in one of the provisions of the law contained in the letter.
The same message also appeared on the Al Masirah TV website, affiliated with the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Al Masirah TV condemned what it considered “American piracy and confiscation of copyright,” and said in a statement posted on the “Ansar Allah” website that it was continuing to “confront American and Israeli piracy against our nation by all available means.”
And she considered that “this American ban on Al-Masirah Net and other friendly sites once again reveals the falsehood of the slogans of freedom of expression and all the other headlines that America promotes.”
As soon as the channel announced on Tuesday evening that it had created an alternative website for the “Al-Masira Net” website, which was closed by Washington, noting that the new website was “Al-Masira.com”.
The website of the same channel as well as the website of “Al-Ittijah”, the TV channel of the “Hezbollah Brigades”, met the same fate in October 2020.
The site of Al-Nujaba, the other main Iraqi faction loyal to Iran, was also blocked at that time.
These two factions, made up of Iraqi fighters trained, financed and armed by Iran, are active in Iraq as well as in Syria, where they are fighting alongside the Bashar al-Assad regime and Lebanese Hezbollah.
The ban also included the website of the Bahraini opposition “Lu’ala” channel, and the channel wrote on Twitter that “the US administration illegally seizes the website of the Pearl satellite channel and a number of websites affiliated with the Islamic Radios and Televisions Union.”
Manama accuses the groups that control this channel of being loyal to Iran.
– ‘Coordinated action’ –
Bahrain, which hosts the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet, has normalized its relations with Israel.
And if the sites of Al Masirah and the Pearl were blocked, their television broadcasts were not interrupted and continued as usual, according to AFP correspondents in Yemen and Bahrain.
Press TV spoke of a “clear coordinated action”, while the Iranian state television, IRIB, which sponsors some of these channels, condemned the blocking of the websites of “pro-resistance media that expose the crimes of the US allies in the region.”
“While the democratic government of the United States affirms support for freedom of expression, it is effectively shutting down the media by supporting” Israel and Saudi Arabia, Washington’s historic allies in the Middle East, the television added on its website.
Iranian television reported that the US measure also included the channels “Palestine Today”, “Al-Naba” and “Al-Kawthar”.
The Iranian news agency “Fars”, which is close to hard-line conservatives, condemned the US move, considering it a “flagrant violation of press freedom.”
Iran is subject to a series of US economic sanctions over its uranium enrichment program, which Washington suspects has military objectives, a charge Tehran denies.
The Islamic Republic is also accused of committing human rights abuses and of supporting terrorism.
© 2021 AFP