US Seizes Dozens of Iranian, Terrorist-Sponsored Anti-Israel Media Outlets
The US Department of Justice announced last week that it had seized 33 websites operated by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU).
Included in the seizure order were PressTV.com, one of Tehran’s English-language mouthpieces, and Gaza Strip-based Islamic Jihad‘s Palestine Today. According to a government statement, Tehran’s channels “targeted the United States with disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations.”
Washington sanctioned the IRTVU because of its close ties to the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a US-designated terrorist group. These sanctions bar IRGC-controlled organizations like Press TV from receiving services from US companies, including web hosting, without special permission.
Tehran tries to brand Press TV as a credible news agency. In reality, it merely echoes the propaganda line of a genocidal regime that calls for the destruction of America and Israel. In 2012, then-Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi stated that media outlets have the “power to shape the global public opinion — a capability that military power lacks.” To this end, the IRGC this year hired nearly 12,000 “cultural activists” to engage in its operations.
In 2012, the United Kingdom revoked Press TV’s broadcasting license for breaching the Communications Act. The ban came just months after the channel aired an alarming interview with imprisoned journalist Maziar Bahari. The Newsweek reporter revealed that he was tortured and then ordered to make an on-air confession, under the threat of execution.
Press TV’s UK bank account was also closed.
EU sanctions against the Islamic Republic in 2012 halted the Iranian state-owned news network’s activities in the rest of Europe.
Moreover, in 2019, Google shut down Press TV’s YouTube channel, likely because it had shared a video that promoted the antisemitic libel that Israel conducts medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners. Twitter and Facebook followed suit, but thereafter, without specific reason, reinstated Press TV’s ability to spew Jew-hatred.
Indeed, Press TV’s channel has over the years given a platform to a wide array of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Holocaust deniers. Its website also published an article titled, “Palestinian suffrage in Israel worse than WWII Jewish plight.” A leitmotif of Press TV’s reporting is that “Zionists” and the “Jewish Banking Cartel” control US politics. The outlet also ran a poll implying that the “9/11 incident” was staged by the US to “tarnish the image of Islam” and was used as a pretext to wage wars in the Middle East.
BREAKING: Iran’s Press TV website seized by U.S. government, according to notice pic.twitter.com/ZylrN0NkVs
— BNO News (@BNONews) June 22, 2021
While Press TV reappeared online following the US government action — after migrating to an Iran-based domain name — the regime’s US-targeted propaganda efforts took a serious blow. Last month alone, the now-seized website PressTV.com attracted some 6 million visitors. According to recent data, some 20 percent of its readership is based in the United States.
As described in an article published on Wednesday by The Jerusalem Post: “[…] The ayatollahs have been getting away with the equivalent of cyber ‘murder’ for years with practically no public consequences.”
However, the seizure of IRTVU’s US-hosted websites hopefully will put an end to the vile propaganda that Press TV was promulgating using American companies.
The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, where a version of this article first appeared.