DUBAI: Iran said on Tuesday that several state-linked news websites have been seized by the US government under unclear circumstances.
While there was no immediate acknowledgement of the seizures from American authorities, they come amid the wider heightened tensions between the US and Iran over Tehran’s now-tattered nuclear deal with world powers.
The Islamic Republic’s president-elect, judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, staked out a hard-line position in his first news conference since his election victory. He said he would would not meet with President Joe Biden and ruled out any further negotiations with the West over Tehran’s ballistic missile program and support for regional militias.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency identified a series of websites taken offline, saying they were seized by the Department of Justice.
The Iranian state-linked websites that abruptly went offline with what appeared to be US seizure notices include state television’s English-language arm Press TV, as well as the Yemeni Houthi rebels Al-Masirah satellite news channel and Iranian state TVs Arabic-language channel, Al-Alam.
The site for the Houthi-run Al-Masirah satellite news channel acknowledged its website’s seizure by the FBI. In a statement, the group said the sites closure had come without prior notice but that the channel would continue in its mission of confronting the American and Israeli acts of piracy against our nation, by any means.
The notice said the websites were seized as part of law enforcement action by the Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Marzieh Hashemi, a prominent American-born anchorwoman for Press TV, told The Associated Press that the channel was aware of the seizure but had no further information.
We are just trying to figure out what this means, she said.