Twitter suspends Iranian oil minister’s account

November 16, 2020 - 18:7

TEHRAN — Twitter has suspended the account of Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, claiming the account violated the website’s rules against impersonation.

“The account was suspended for violation of the Twitter rules against impersonation,” Bloomberg quoted a spokesperson for the social media company as saying.

The spokesperson did not give any more details.

According to Twitter’s website, “accounts that pose as another person, brand, or organization in a confusing or deceptive manner may be permanently suspended under Twitter’s impersonation policy”.

Last month, the U.S. sanctioned Zanganeh and some related entities amid heightening tensions between the two countries before the U.S. presidential election.

Upon announcing the sanctions against Zanganeh, the U.S. Treasury Department accused Iran of using its oil industry to fund activities of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and its Quds Force.

“The Iranian regime continues to prioritize its support for terrorist entities and its nuclear program over the needs of the Iranian people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed in a statement.

The Trump administration ramped up its pressure on Iran ahead of the Nov. 3 election, partly to help ensure that a Joe Biden administration would find it more difficult to ease sanctions. The U.S. announced new sweeping restrictions on Iran’s financial sector last month, as well as blacklisting 18 banks that had escaped earlier sanctions.

In response, Zanganeh dismissed the measures as a sign that U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to eliminate Iranian crude exports had failed and said they wouldn’t hamstring the country’s oil industry. 

“Imposition of sanctions on me and my colleagues is a passive reaction to the failure of Washington's policy of reducing [Iran's] crude oil exports to zero,” he tweeted on October 26.

“The era of unilateralism is over in the world. Iran's oil industry will not be hamstrung,” Zanganeh added.

On Thursday, Zanganeh said the unfair U.S. sanctions have barred Iran’s access to billions of dollars in oil revenues.

Addressing the 22nd annual ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), Zanganeh stated that the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the illegal imposition of unilateral economic sanctions on Iran was nothing but bullying his country and the international community.

“U.S. sanctions on Iran violate the specific policies of many countries in the international community but they cannot do anything about it just because the U.S. is dominating the global financial and banking system,” he said.

"Despite all these challenges, we have made significant progress in the energy sector; by relying on our human resources, technology and investment, we have achieved the sustainable production of one billion cubic meters of gas per day,” he added.

MH/PA

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