Iran says state-linked sites seized by US, reasons unclear

Associated Press

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Iran said Tuesday that several state-linked news websites have been seized by the U.S. government under unclear circumstances.

While there was no immediate acknowledgement of the seizures from American authorities, it comes amid the wider heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The Islamic Republic’s president-elect, judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, staked out a hard-line position Monday 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 U.S. 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 TV’s Arabic-language channel, Al-Alam.

Marzieh Hashemi, a prominent American-born television anchorwoman for Iran's state television speaks during a interview with the Associated Press in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019.

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The notice said that 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.