National Security

Cruz Aide Says Twitter Likely Criminally Liable for Enabling Iranian Regime

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Sen. Ted Cruz's (R., Texas) national security adviser said Twitter is likely breaking federal law by providing a platform for Iranian officials on Tuesday.

"Unrelatedly but sort of relatedly, you guys are almost certainly in criminal violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because you provide services to Iranian officials designated under EO 13876," said Cruz adviser Omri Ceren. "The penalties are 10 years in prison and $1 million fines."

Enacted in 1977, the act empowers the president to block transactions or freeze assets related to "an unusual or extraordinary threat" to the United States. Executive Order 13876, issued in 2019, applied the act's broader powers to Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Twitter currently hosts accounts in multiple languages for Khamenei, where he and his office regularly broadcast Iranian propaganda. Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai previously suggested tweets from Khamanei's account—including calls for Israel's destruction—violate Twitter guidelines for "glorifying violence."

"The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed," one tweet from Khamanei reads.

Twitter has come under extensive scrutiny in the past for the seemingly unbalanced application of its rules, including toward conservative groups, and allowing China to engage in information warfare.