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Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian news agencies

Tehran, July 21 (IANS) Twitter has blocked accounts of some major Iran news agencies over alleged harassment of people who follow the Baha'i faith.The agencies speculated the blocking of their accounts occurred after British-flagged oil tanker was seized by the country in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions in the Gulf.Persian language Twitter accounts of the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Mehr News agency and the Young Journalists Club (YJC) news outlet were suspended due to Twitter rule violations, Sputnik News reported on Sunday.Some media reports said the accounts were suspended for targeted harassment of people associated with Baha'i -- a minority faith in Iran. According to the English edition of Mehr News, the two agency's accounts (@MehrDiplomacy and @MehrNews_FA) were blocked for unknown reasons.Twitter users noted that state-run media IRNA (@irna_1313) and the YJC (@yjcagency) accounts have also been suspended.Twitter was yet to issue an official statement on this.The accounts were blocked after Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for violating international maritime regulations.In June, Twitter pulled down almost 5,000 accounts suspected of being directly run or linked to the Iranian government.The micro-blogging site said all the account sets were originated in Iran.Twitter cracked down on a total of 4,779 pages and it took down at least 1,666 accounts in set one that originated in Iran. Cumulatively, these accounts tweeted nearly two million times.
--IANS na/pg

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