The US has seized 27 additional domain names that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) “unlawfully” used to spread “disinformation”.
All 27 domains were being used in violation of US sanctions targeting both the government of Iran and the IRGC, the Department of Justice said on Wednesday.
Four of the domains purported to be genuine news outlets but were actually controlled by the IRGC and targeted audiences in the US, to covertly influence US policy and public opinion, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), according to descriptions in the seizure documents.
The remainder targeted audiences in other parts of the world, it added.
“Within the last month we have announced seizures of Iran’s weapons, fuel, and covert influence infrastructure,” John Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department, said in a statement.
“As long as Iran’s leaders are trying to destabilise the world through the state-sponsorship of terrorism and the taking of hostages, we will continue to enforce US sanctions and take other legal steps to counter them.”
This seizure warrant follows an earlier seizure of 92 domains used by the IRGC for similar purposes.
“The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is aggressively investigating any evidence of foreign influence and the unlawful spread of disinformation by hostile nations. Today, we seized 27 additional domains that Iran’s IRGC was illegally using in attempt to manipulate public opinion in other countries, including the US,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair.
“Thanks to our ongoing collaboration with Google, Facebook, and Twitter, the FBI was able to disrupt this Iranian propaganda campaign and we will continue to pursue any attempts by foreign actors to spread disinformation in our country.”