Senator Cruz calls on AG Barr for criminal investigation into Twitter regarding Iran
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today called on Attorney General Bill Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to investigate Twitter for willfully violating American sanctions on Iran by providing social media accounts and services to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif. Both officials are designated under Executive Order (E.O) 13876 for connections to the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
In February, Sen. Cruz, along with Sens. Tom Cotton, Marsha Blackburn, and Marco Rubio, sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey alerting them to these violations. The letter made clear that “Twitter and its principals face criminal liability and sanctions exposure for providing social media accounts to Iranian persons designated as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) pursuant to E.O. 13876.” The letter also noted that Iranian leaders do not allow their own people to access Twitter, and so the platform is used by them exclusively to propagandize to the world.
In a response letter, Twitter stated: “regardless of the political agenda of a particular nation-state, to deny our service to their leaders at a time like this would be antithetical to the purpose of our company…”