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US Seizes Domain Names Used in Iranian Disinformation Campaign

The US has seized 92 domain names used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to spread a worldwide disinformation campaign.

The United States has seized 92 domain names that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) used in a global disinformation campaign, the Department of Justice reported this week.

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Four of the domains claimed to be legitimate news outlets but were controlled by the IRGC, which targeted the US with Iranian propaganda to influence domestic and foreign policy. These domains violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which established a registration, reporting, and disclosure process for foreign entities so US citizens and government know the sources of information and identities of people trying to sway public opinion, policy, and law. 

These domain names included "newsstand7[.]com," "usjournal[.]net," "usjournal[.]us," and "twtoday[.]net." They were seized following the establishment of FARA, which mandates the foreign entities subject to its requirements must submit regular and truthful statements about their activities and the money earned from them.

Here, the domains pretended to be news outlets but were used by the IRGC to influence US policy toward Iran and the Middle East. They lacked proper registration as required under FARA and did not indicate content was published on behalf of the IRGC and Iranian government. 

The remaining 88 websites were used to spread Iranian propaganda around the world and targeted audiences in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. These also were disguised to appear as genuine news websites while being used by the IRGC to spread disinformation intended to benefit the Iranian government.

All 92 domains seized were used in violation of US sanctions targeting both the Iranian government and the IRGC. 

Read more details in the DoJ's full release.

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