Washington [US], June 23 (ANI): The United States government has seized dozens of US website domains connected to Iran, linked to what the US says are disinformation efforts, according to a national security official.
CNN reported that some users are not able to access sites such as Presstv.com, which is an Iranian state-run English-language news outlet.
When attempting to access, users are seeing the following message: "The domain presstv.com has been seized by the United States Government in accordance with a seizure warrant pursuant to 18 U.S.C. ... as part of a law enforcement action by the Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement and Federal Bureau of Investigation."
Iranian media reported that it has blocked the websites of several news agencies. Taking to Twitter, the Press TV account said: "In what seems to be a coordinated action, a similar message appears on the websites of Iranian and regional television networks that claims the domains of the websites have been 'seized by the United States Government.'"
The move comes just days after the election of Iranian president-elect Ebrahim Raisi in a process the US State Department called "pre-manufactured" and not free and fair. All of Raisi's serious rivals were barred from the race and overall voter turnout was 48.8 per cent, the lowest figure since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979.
In a news conference Monday, the Iranian President-elect ruled out a meeting with US President Joe Biden and called on the US to lift sanctions on Tehran and rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.
According to CNN, the US government's seizure of the outlets is a potentially provocative move amid the talks in Vienna about the 2015 nuclear agreement. The sixth round of those discussions -- aimed at returning the US to the deal and getting Iran back into compliance -- wrapped up over the weekend.
"When it comes to our diplomacy, we've always said that it is absolutely in our interests to arrive at a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) precisely because it would allow us to once again permanently and verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That was in our interests before the Iranian election. It is manifestly in our interests after the election," said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
"I would make the point that even though Iran will have a new president in the coming weeks, ultimately it is Iran's supreme leader who determines Iran's policy on a range of important issues," Price added.
The Iranian President-elect, in response to a question from CNN on Monday, accused the US and the European Union of violating the nuclear deal and called on Biden to lift all sanctions against Iran. He also said that his country's ballistic missile program was "not up for negotiation".
"My serious proposal to the United States government is for them to return [to the agreement] in an expedited manner ... in doing so they will prove their sincerity... The people of Iran do not have good memories of the JCPOA," he said.
Raisi will take office in early August, replacing moderate President Hassan Rouhani who was not allowed by the constitution to run for a third consecutive term.
He has become the first Iranian president to be sanctioned by the United States even before assuming office as he was designated in 2019.
The US blacklisted him for his role in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988, his involvement in the crackdown on the 2009 Green Movement protests, and "administration of oversight over the executions of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime". (ANI)