The Farsi-language Twitter accounts of at least three Iranian official and semi-official news outlets were blocked soon after the IRGC seized the tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for violating international maritime regulations.
Persian language Twitter accounts of the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the semi-official Mehr News agency and the Young Journalists Club (YJC) news outlet were suspended due to Twitter rule violations.
Twitter seems to have suspended the Persian-language accounts of a number of #Iran-ian news agencies, namely official IRNA (@IRNA_1313), state broadcaster-run YJC (@yjcagency), and semi-official Mehr (@mehrnews_fa). pic.twitter.com/GzY8BfUhhd— Kian Sharifi (@KianSharifi) July 20, 2019
According to the English edition of Mehr News, the two agency’s accounts (@MehrDiplomacy and @MehrNews_FA) were blocked for unknown reasons.
Twitter users noted that state-run media IRNA (@irna_1313) and the YJC (@yjcagency) accounts have been suspended as well.
This is really a challenging time for all, I hope this move was not delibrate and politically driven.— Karim Dorzadeh (@karim_dorzadeh) July 20, 2019
Otherwise it is dangerous for democracy and freedom of information, if a social media giant silence reporters and news outlets this way.
No statement from Twitter explaining the move has been made.
In May Twitter and Facebook had together disabled thousands of “inauthentic accounts originating in Iran,” following a report by cybersecurity firm and CIA startup FireEye. which Twitter acknowledged never saw.
On Friday, a UK-flagged tanker was confiscated in the Strait of Hormuz by the IRGC after it allegedly violated international regulations. The UK condemned the move, calling the act 'unacceptable'.
The seizure happened amid UK-Iranian tensions that spiked after the UK seized an Iranian supertanker near Gibraltar.
US President Donald Trump noted that he would talk to the UK about the incident.
"This only goes to show what I'm saying about Iran, trouble, nothing but trouble. ... Let's see what happens."