DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — American authorities took down a range of Iran’s state-linked news websites under unclear circumstances on Tuesday, the U.S. and Iran said, a move that appeared to be a far-reaching crackdown on Iranian media amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
The U.S. seized roughly three dozen websites, the majority of which are linked to Iranian disinformation efforts, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case had not yet been officially announced by the American government.
The takedowns come as world powers scramble to resurrect Tehran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal and just days after the election victory of Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi. On Monday, Raisi, known for his hostility to the West, staked out a hard-line position in his first news conference. He ruled out the possibilities of meeting with President Joe Biden or negotiating over Tehran’s ballistic missile program and support for regional militias — concerns the Biden administration wants addressed in future talks.