The social media giant Twitter suspended the accounts of several Iranian state media outlets. A day later, on Saturday, Twitter cited the reason for the suspension as the harassment of people linked to the Baha’i faith.
The region has been tension-centric, amplified by the seizure of a British flagged tanker by Iran on Friday. A few of the blocked media outlets surmised that their accounts are blocked for they covered the seizure.
However, Twitter said the reason was the coordinated and targeted harassment of people of the Baha’i faith. It is a religious minority that has been agonized for a long time in Iran. The accounts were not named and it said that the matter is still under investigation.
The message on the suspended Iranian accounts read in English-language, “Account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules.”
The Swedish-owned tanker was seized for breaking “international maritime rules” in the strait, as told by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. It is the strategic narrow route for around a third of the world’s sea-borne oil.
Twitter pages of Mehr’s in Farsi-language, the official IRNA news agency, the agency of the Young Journalists’ Club, and the account of public speaker Ali Akbar Raefipoor were found inaccessible on Saturday.
YJC posted on its website, “Since last night and after the seizure of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz the account of the Young Journalists’ Club and some other users has been suspended.”
Another account of Mehr that publishes analysis and interviews on foreign policy, Mehr Diplomacy account, was also suspended.
The account owners said they have not received any reason for this suspension.
Even though Twitter is banned in Iran, many officials still have accounts that can be accessed using a VPN or private network.