Apr 28, 2020, 7:09 PM
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Iran Institute chief Shafiei: US has stolen.com domain

Tehran, April 28, IRNA -- The Iran Cultural and Press Institute (ICPI), a media group that publishes a series of government-owned newspapers including ‘Iran’, slammed the United States for “stealing” its .com domain.

ICPI Managing Director Mehdi Shafiei told AFP on Monday that the US Treasury has sought to "block" and "confiscate" the company's domain names, Iran Daily reported.

US President Donald Trump's administration has "so far shown that it is not at all rational or logical and therefore behavior such as stealing a newspaper's domain was not unexpected", Shafiei said.

"This is an inhumane act that violates human rights, in particular freedom of expression," he added.

Shafiei called on "all international bodies, members of the media and all supporters of freedom of expression around the world to react and condemn this decision."

All newspapers published by the ICPI have become unavailable in their .com websites since last week but their .ir versions remain active.

They include the Farsi-language daily ‘Iran’, English-language ‘Iran Daily’, Arabic-language ‘Alvefaq’, daily for the blind readership in Braille ‘Iran Sepid’, and sports paper ‘Iran Varzeshi'.

A search of the ‘Iran’ newspaper's .com domain name shows that its status was updated on April 23 and is now owned by "OFAC Holding" registered in Jacksonville, Florida.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned the United States for blocking and seizing the ICPI domain.

The Islamic Republic “strongly condemns the decision by the US Treasury Department to block the domain of the Iranian media, which is contrary to the universal declaration of human rights and freedom of expression,” the ministry said in a tweet.

"The (US) regime’s new measure in silencing the media has degraded the US into the main violator of the international legal order,” it added.

The US Treasury, particularly its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), has strictly followed US economic sanctions that the Trump administration has tightened considerably against Iran since 2018.

As a result, some social media networks including Instagram have closed accounts belonging to Iranian officials named on the US Treasury's blacklist.

In 2013, Brian Krebson, an American investigative journalist specializing in cyber security, reported on his blog that "OFAC Holding" was the signature of an American company, Network Solutions, and its parent company web.com.

According to Krebson, these two companies had seized hundreds of domain names linked to Syrian entities targeted by US sanctions for their links with President Bashar al-Assad.

The US government “has the right to seize any .com, .net and .org domain name because the companies that have the contracts to administer them are based on United States soil," a Homeland Security official has said.

courtesy: http://irandailyonline.ir/News/268341.html

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