The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced on Wednesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized 27 domain names the agency claimed were used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for the purpose of a “global covert influence campaign.”
The DoJ public affairs statement said, “all 27 domains were being used in violation of U.S. sanctions targeting both the Government of Iran and the IRGC.”
It also said that four of the domains “purported to be genuine news outlets but were actually controlled by the IRGC and targeted audiences in the United States, to covertly influence United States policy and public opinion, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).”
The four domains specifically mentioned for violating FARA are “rpfront.com” (Real Progressive Front), “ahtribune.com” (American Herald Tribune), “awdnews.com” (Another Western Dawn News) and “criticalstudies.org” (Critical Studies), and each of these internet locations now hosts a graphic which displays the DoJ and FBI seals and a red headline that that states, “THIS WEBSITE have BEEN SEIZED.”
The latest seizures follow by less than one month an earlier seizure of 92 domains the FBI claimed were used by IRGC for similar purposes.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act is a US law passed in 1938 that requires agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a “political or quasi-political capacity,” to disclose their relationship and provide information about their activities and finances.
The DoJ statement says the FARA law establishes a “registration, reporting, and disclosure regime for agents … so that the U.S. government and the people of the United States are informed of the source of information and the identity of persons attempting to influence US public opinion, policy, and law.”