Iranians debate freedom of expression as Instagram shuts down IRGC pages

Al-Monitor – “Sorry, this page isn’t available.” That’s the message that now greets Instagram users trying to access accounts purportedly run by top figures of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Last week, President Donald Trump designated the IRGC a “foreign terrorist organization,” and a day after the measure took effect, Instagram banned the accounts.

“We work with appropriate government authorities to ensure we meet our legal obligations, including those relating to the recent designation of the IRGC,” a spokesperson for the social media platform told AFP.

Among the most notable accounts banned are those of IRGC commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari and Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who heads the influential overseas branch, known as the Quds Force. The long list has not even spared the Iranian traffic police chief, not to mention several retired officers, such as former Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and former head of the state broadcaster Ezzatollah Zarghami. Meanwhile, the English-language version of the supreme leader’s official website on Instagram was temporarily suspended.

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