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(CNSNews.com) – The photo- and video-sharing website Instagram has taken down the accounts of senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials, including Qods Force chief Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, according to state media.
The move comes shortly after the Trump administration’s designation of the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization took effect.
Others - Mehr - News - Agency - IRGC
Among others affected, according to the Mehr news agency, were overall IRGC commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari; the former head of state TV Ezzat Zarghami, who is a former IRGC general, sanctioned by the U.S. and European Union for human rights abuses; and Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, a former IRGC Air Force head who has also served as Iran’s police chief and as mayor of Tehran.
Attempts to access those accounts led to “this page isn’t available” dead-ends.
Queries - Instagram - Parent - Company - Facebook
Queries sent to Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, brought no response by press time, although an Instagram spokesperson told the AFP wire service that it works “with appropriate government authorities to ensure we meet our legal obligations, including those relating to the recent designation of the IRGC.”
Some reports said supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s English-language Instagram account had also been taken down, although it was accessible early Thursday – as was his main Farsi-language account, which boasts 2.5 million followers.
Javan - Hardline - Newspaper - Instagram - Decision
Javan, a hardline newspaper, said Instagram’s decision ran “contrary to the claims of free speech and the free flow of information.”
Last month a senior advisor to Iran’s parliamentary speaker complained about “the Western model of free speech” after Instagram took down a posting on his account which called Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah a champion in the fight against terrorism.
Soleimani - Instagram - Account - Followers - Figure
Soleimani, whose Instagram account had 104,000 followers before being removed, is a highly-controversial figure for the U.S., accused of responsibility for the killing, by Qods Force-backed Shi’ite militias, of hundreds of U.S. troops during the Iraq...
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