Notices appeared on June 22 on several Iran-linked websites saying they had been seized by the United States government as part of law enforcement action.
The Iranian state-linked websites that abruptly went offline with what appeared to be U.S. seizure notices include state television’s English-language branch Press TV, as well as the Yemeni Huthi rebels’ Al-Masirah satellite news channel and Iranian state television’s Arabic-language channel, Al-Alam.
The notices 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.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said the websites taken offline were seized by the U.S. Department of Justice.
A Justice Department spokesperson had no immediate comment. Two U.S. government sources indicated to Reuters that the Justice Department was preparing an announcement on the issue.
The website of Masirah TV, which is run by the Huthis, reads:
“The domain almasirah.net has been seized by the United States Government in accordance with a seizure warrant…as part of a law enforcement action by the Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement and Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Iran’s Arabic language Alalam TV said on its Telegram channel: “U.S. authorities shut down Al-Alam TV’s website.”
Notices have also appeared on websites of Iran’s Press TV and Lualua TV, a Bahraini independent channel which broadcasts from Britain.
However, Press TV’s website later appeared to work normally, even running a news alert about the seizures.
Last October, U.S. prosecutors seized a network of web domains which they said were used in a campaign by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to spread political disinformation around the world.
The U.S. Justice Department said then that it had taken control of 92 domains used by the IRGC to pose as independent media outlets targeting audiences in the United States, Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia.