Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani’s Instagram account suspended
Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Instagram accounts believed to belong to three commanders from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been shut down a day after a US terrorist designation for the force took effect.
The suspended accounts include those of Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander-in-chief of the IRGC, and Brig. Gen. Mohammed Pakpour, commander of the IRGC Ground Forces.
The US announced last week that it would designate the IRGC a terrorist organization. Trump said the move “recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
An Instagram spokeswoman told Arab News that they were obligated to adhere to the US sanctions and may disable accounts associated with designated organizations.
“We operate under the constraints of US sanctions laws,” the spokeswoman said. “We work with appropriate government authorities to ensure we meet our legal obligations, including those relating to the recent designation of the IRGC.”
Soleimani’s Instagram account reportedly had 900,000 followers. He once used it to to taunt Trump after the US president posted an image warning that “Sanctions are coming” in the style of Game of Thrones.
Soleimani responded with a similarly styled image of himself with the words “We will stand against you.”
Last year the account posted an image of Soleimani stood in front of an exploding White House.
On Tuesday, Iran’s lawmakers approved a bill labeling US forces in the Middle East as terrorist.
The US terrorist designation for the IRGC took effect on Monday.
The IRGC are Iran’s elite military force and are politically powerful domestically, oversee the country’s ballistic missile program and control huge sections of the economy.
Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries accuse the group and its foreign wing, the Quds Force, of destabilizing the Middle East with its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
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