Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, began removing pages and accounts run by people associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps this week after the US government officially designated the IRGC a terrorist organization on Monday, Instagram confirmed to CNN.
Iran’s semi-official Mehr News Agency reported earlier this week that Instagram accounts belonging to some IRGC generals had disappeared.
Reacting to the Instagram bans, Iran’s minister of communications and information technology, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, tweeted a quote from the novelist George R.R. Martin: “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”
President Donald Trump announced earlier this month his plans to formally designate the IRGA a foreign terrorist organization. The step, Trump said in a statement, “recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
Some in the Trump administration opposed the designation over concerns about potential risks to US troops in the Middle East.
Trump described the IRGC as “the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”
A spokesperson for Instagram confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that it had removed the accounts of some people associated with the IRGC, but would not specify what accounts.
“We operate under the constraints of US sanctions laws. We work with appropriate government authorities to ensure we meet our legal obligations, including those relating to the recent designation of the IRGC,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the policy also extends to Facebook.