U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R–TX) is calling for Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to open a criminal investigation into Twitter, saying the social media company is providing services to top Iranian officials in violation of U.S. sanctions against the radical regime.
Cruz first reached out to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a letter on January 6 of this year, informing Dorsey that his company’s continued actions of providing services to Iranian officials by allowing them to hold official Twitter accounts could cause Twitter to face criminal liability.
Twitter responded to Cruz in an April 3 letter with two arguments justifying their actions that Cruz described as “untenable.”
According to Cruz, Twitter responded in a letter refusing to deny services to the top Iranian officials because “to deny our service to [Iran’s] leaders at a time like this would be antithetical to the purpose of our company.”
Twitter also said aiding the sponsor of global terrorism was necessary to help combat the spread of the Chinese coronavirus, saying, “[Our] goal is to elevate and amplify authoritative health information as far as possible.”
Twitter continues to elevate several Iranian leaders with official accounts: Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the Islamic Republic; Javad Zari, Iranian foreign minister; and Hassan Rouhani, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
A quick search of Rouhani’s Twitter account revealed a post glorifying the late terrorist General Soleimani, who was taken out in a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump earlier this year.
In the tweet, Rouhani writes “… [T]he path of resistance to the US excesses will continue. The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime.”
None of the Iranian president’s tweets, including the one pledging revenge against the United States for killing General Soleimani, appeared to be “fact checked” or censored by the social media giant—though the company has started making a regular effort to “fact check” and censor President Trump’s feed.
Cruz also cites how Khamenei and Zari have recently used their official accounts to spread “anti-American disinformation and conspiracy theories” rather than post useful public health information.
“The cohesion and legitimacy of our laws rest on their equal application to all citizens and entities, no matter how large or how powerful,” Cruz wrote, calling on the Justice and Treasury Departments to investigate and prosecute Twitter both civilly and criminally for their “blatant and willful” violations of federal law.
Cruz’s letter states that violations of the sanction include “criminal penalties of up to $1 million in fines and imprisonment for up to 20 years for willful violations.”