Instagram Blocks Iranian Guard Commanders’ Pages

Written by on April 18, 2019

Washington, DC, United States (VOA) – With 800,000 followers, the Instagram page of the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force was among the most popular pages of Iranian officials on the photo-sharing website.

The Instagram comments, public appearances, travelsand promotional posters of Qassem Soleimani — who as head of Quds commands the vaunted Islamic Revolutionary GuardCorps (IRGC) outside Iran — were shared on the Instagram page, which is one of the only major socialmedia sites that has not been blocked by Iran.

On April 16, a day after Washington’s designation of the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization came into effect, Soleiman’s page, along with the Instagram pages of several other IRGC commanders, were blocked.

“Sorry, this page isn’t available,” a message on the pagereads. “The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.”

An Instagram spokesman said it was operating “under the constraints of U.S. sanctions laws.”

“We work with the appropriate government authorities to ensure we meet our legal obligations, including those relating to the recent designation of the IRGC,” the spokesman said.

Iranian media reported that the English-language Instagram page of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the page of judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi were also blocked .

Khamenei’s Persian-language Instagram page, with 2.5 million followers, remains available. Khamenei’s English-language page was back up on April 17.

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