The State Department had previously deemed Kata’ib Hizballah a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
The U.S. on Tuesday seized nearly three dozen websites utilized by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU) as well as three sites operated by the State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization Kata’ib Hizballah (KH).
Both of the entities had previously been designated as Specially Designated Nationals by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which means that they were barred from securing services, including website and domain services, in America without an OFAC license, according to the Justice Department.
“On Oct. 22, 2020, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated IRTVU as a Specially Designated National (SDN) for being owned or controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC),” the Department of Justice noted. “According to OFAC, the designation of IRTVU as an SDN was in response to the Iranian regime targeting the United States’ electoral process with brazen attempts to sow discord among the voting populace by spreading disinformation online and executing malign influence operations aimed at misleading U.S. voters. OFAC’s announcement explained that components of the government of Iran, including IRTVU and others like it, disguised as news organizations or media outlets, targeted the United States to with [sic] disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations. 33 of the websites seized today were operated by IRTVU. The 33 domains are owned by a United States company. IRTVU did not obtain a license from OFAC prior to utilizing the domain names.
“Three additional websites seized today were operated by KH. On July 2, 2009, OFAC designated KH an SDN, and the Department of State designated KH a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The announcements described KH as an Iraqi terrorist organization that committed, directed, supported or posed a significant risk of committing acts of violence against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. OFAC further explained that the IRGC provides lethal support to KH and other Iraqi Shia militia groups who target and kill Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. The three domains operated by KH were owned by a United States company. KH did not obtain a license from OFAC prior to utilizing the domain names,” the DOJ noted.