The United States has seized 92 domain names that were unlawfully used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to engage in a global disinformation campaign, announced the Department of Justice.
According to the seizure documents, four of the domains purported to be genuine news outlets but were actually controlled by the IRGC and targeted the United States for the spread of Iranian propaganda to influence United States domestic and foreign policy in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and the remainder spread Iranian propaganda to other parts of the world. In addition, the seizure documents describe how all 92 domains were being used in violation of U.S. sanctions targeting both the Government of Iran and the IRGC.
“We will continue to use all of our tools to stop the Iranian Government from misusing U.S. companies and social media to spread propaganda covertly, to attempt to influence the American public secretly, and to sow discord,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “Fake news organizations have become a new outlet for disinformation spread by authoritarian countries as they continue to try to undermine our democracy. Today’s actions show that we can use a variety of laws to vindicate the value of transparency.”
“Today we are 92 domains closer to shutting down Iran’s worldwide disinformation campaign,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California. “This important work will continue. Iran cannot be allowed to hide behind fake news sites. If Iran wants to be heard using U.S. facilities, it must reveal its true colors.”