US Senator Cruz: Twitter’s failure to delete Iranian officials’ accounts could violate sanctions

In the letter, Cruz explained that he had informed Twitter of their violation of the IEEPA through two specific and active Twitter accounts belonging to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Screenshot)
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Updated 29 May 2020

US Senator Cruz: Twitter’s failure to delete Iranian officials’ accounts could violate sanctions

  • Cruz urged Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to open an investigation into Twitter “for possible criminal violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)”

LONDON: US Senator Ted Cruz called for a criminal investigation of Twitter on Friday over allegations the company is violating US sanctions against Iran by not banning officials from the site.

Cruz urged Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to open an investigation into Twitter “for possible criminal violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA),” he wrote in a letter sent to the the US Justice and Treasury departments.

In the letter, Cruz explained that he had informed Twitter of their violation of the IEEPA through two specific and active Twitter accounts belonging to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“To this day, Twitter continues to provide services to these covered individuals, and, in an April 3, 2020 response letter, attempted to justify this decision with two untenable arguments,” he wrote.

“In early April, Khamenei and Zarif used their Twitter accounts to post anti-American disinformation and conspiracy theories, not authoritative health information. They use their accounts provided by Twitter to threaten and taunt their enemies real and imagined. In any event, Twitter’s corporate values and grave misapprehension of the threat that Khamenei and Zarif pose are irrelevant,” he added.

“The Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice should investigate what appears to be Twitter’s blatant and wilful violation of IEEPA and E.O. 13876 by providing services to Khamenei, Zarif, and other designated Iranian entities, and, to the extent appropriate, enforce any violation through sanctions and by seeking civil and criminal penalties.”


Prominent Israeli journalist, Netanyahu critic, loses TV job

Updated 07 July 2020

Prominent Israeli journalist, Netanyahu critic, loses TV job

  • Barak Ravid has gained a reputation for breaking stories about Israel’s relations with the US, the EU and other foreign partners

JERUSALEM: A prominent Israeli journalist known for breaking diplomatic scoops and critical coverage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received notice recently that he was being dismissed.

Barak Ravid, Channel 13 TV’s diplomatic correspondent, was among nearly 40 people who received dismissal letters from the station, Israeli media reported.

Anchorwoman Tali Moreno, veteran weatherman Danny Roop and political correspondent Akiva Novick were among other big names being let go. But it was Ravid’s dismissal that raised eyebrows.

Ravid has gained a reputation for breaking stories about Israel’s relations with the US, the EU and other foreign partners. 

His reporting has upset Netanyahu at times, and the prime minister has publicly rebuked Ravid in the past.

In recent months, Ravid has had exclusive interviews with White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s top Mideast adviser, and the foreign minister of Bahrain. He also writes for the online news site “Axios.”

A person familiar with the situation at Channel 13 said Ravid’s dismissal letter cited him for having poor “professional results.” 

Noa Landau, the diplomatic correspondent at the Haaretz daily and a friend of Ravid, said on Twitter that the dismissal has the “scent of a political assassination.”

Channel 13 said it was dealing with a financial streamlining process that has forced it to “bid farewell to outstanding professionals.” It said the process could be continued “within the organization, not outside it,” due to privacy concerns.