TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Instagram, a media-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, closed the accounts of several top Iranian officials on Tuesday.
The social network has removed the accounts said to be of IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, and Commander of the IRGC Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani.
However, many Iranian officials have announced that they do not have any official account at Instagram or any other social networking services, and the pages attributed to them have been created by their fans.
The other ranking commanders whose Instagram accounts have been closed include IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohamamd Pakpour, senior official of General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces General Mousa Kamali and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a former mayor of Tehran.
In a reaction on Tuesday night, Iran's Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi deplored the American company's move to delete the accounts of Iranian authorities.
"When you tear out a man's tongue, you aren't proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you FEAR what he might say," he said in a post on his Twitter account.
On Monday April 15, a notice published in the US Federal Register officially put the IRGC in the list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Last week on April 8, US President Donald Trump blacklisted the IRGC, marking the first time the US has formally labelled another country's military a terrorist group.
Responding to the move, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council immediately declared the US as a state sponsor of terrorism and US forces in the region terrorists.
The SNSC said it has put CENTCOM on its terror list as a “reciprocal measure” against the US “illegal and unwise” move.