|The sites had been used by components of the Iranian government "disguised as news organizations or media outlets" to target the US "with disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations", it alleged. (Photo by= BBC)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] The US took down dozens of Iranian and Iran-linked news sites which it accuses of spreading disinformation. BBC reported that the sites were replaced on Tuesday with notices saying they had been "seized" as part of a law enforcement action.
They included Iran's state-run English-language channel, Press TV. Several were back online within hours with new domain addresses. The US Department of Justice said in a statement that it had seized 33 websites used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU) and another three-run by the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia in Iraq in violation of US sanctions. Most of the domain names seized were .com, .net and .tv addresses. The .com and .net addresses are generic domains and are not specific to a particular country. The .tv domain is owned by the Pacific nation of Tuvalu but is run by the US firm Verisign.
Meanwhile, Iran criticized the seizures and warned that they were "not constructive" for talks aimed at reviving a nuclear deal. The latest move comes days after hard-line anti-Western cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected president of the Islamic Republic. The US and Iran have long been foes, but relations have deteriorated since 2018 after former US President Donald Trump abandoned a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.