(November 4, 2020 / JNS) The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday it has seized 27 website domain names that allegedly were unlawfully used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to further a global covert influence campaign.
All 27 domains were being used in violation of U.S. sanctions targeting both the Iranian government and the IRGC, according to the seizure documents.
According to the documents, four of the domains purported to be genuine news outlets, but were actually controlled by the IRGC and targeted American audiences to covertly influence U.S. policy and public opinion in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. This act requires entities and individuals considered to work on behalf of a foreign government to register with the DOJ as such an actor, requiring these entities and individuals to disclose their funding and relationship with any foreign government. The DOJ publishes this information online.
The remainder targeted audiences in other parts of the world, according to the documents.
The current action follows an earlier one of 92 domains used by the IRGC for similar purposes.
“Within the last month, we have announced seizures of Iran’s weapons, fuel and covert influence infrastructure,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers in a statement. “As long as Iran’s leaders are trying to destabilize the world through the state sponsorship of terrorism and the taking of hostages, we will continue to enforce U.S. sanctions and take other legal steps to counter them.”
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