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U.S. government seizes 92 domain names used to disseminate Iranian propaganda

The domains were used to push the propaganda to audiences around the world.

Updated: October 7, 2020 - 8:48pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The U.S. government has seized 92 domain names that were illegally used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to perpetuate disinformation worldwide, according to the Justice Department.

“Today, we successfully seized 92 domains involved in a disinformation campaign conducted by Iran-based actors to promote pro-Iranian propaganda," said an official identified as FBI Special Agent in Charge Bennett. "This investigation, initiated by intelligence we received from Google, was a collaborative effort between the FBI and social media companies Google, Facebook, and Twitter.”

Four of the seized domains masqueraded as independent outlets, but were controlled either by or for the IRGC for the purpose of disseminating pro-Iranian propaganda in an effort to impact U.S. policies.

Those four domains were not registered as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and did not alert viewers that the material was being disseminated for the IRGC and Iran's government.

The other 88 seized domains pretended to be news outlets but were controlled by the IRGC for the purpose of promulgating pro-Iranian propaganda in other areas of the world.

"All 92 domains are owned and operated by United States companies," the Justice Department wrote in a press release. "Neither the IRGC nor the Government of Iran obtained a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control prior to utilizing the domain names."