Instagram says it's removing posts supporting Soleimani to comply with US sanctions

Instagram says it’s going to be removing posts about Soleimani of its platform in order to obey sanctions posted by the US government. The news came cutesy of Facebook, Instagram’s parent company which confirmed to CNN it alongside its subsidiaries mainly Instagram pulled posts and accounts supporting diseased Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in order to obey US sanctions against the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its leaders.
Accounts for whole Iranian news agencies were blocked but some have since been restored according to the International Federation of Journalists though the pro-Soleimani posts still remained deleted.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram seems to be caught most in the crossfire because it is one of the few social media services that isn’t blocked in Iran.
The Iranian government has called for nationwide legal action against Instagram in protest, even going as far as creating a portal on a government website for the app’s users to submit examples of posts the social media giant has removed.
In a tweet, Iran’s government spokesperson, Ali Rabiei, called Instagram’s actions “undemocratic.”
Instagram shut down Soleimani’s own account on the platform last April after the US government designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization. Soleimani was an IRGC commander.
Iranian pushback to the resolution might not get much traction. So long as Instagram is interpreting the sanctions correctly in the first place, it’s bound by US law — the alternative could involve facing far stiffer penalties. Iranians might not see a loosened stance on their content unless there’s a change in US policies.
“We operate under US sanctions laws, including those related to the US government’s designation of the IRGC and its leadership,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
As part of its compliance with US law, the Facebook spokesperson said the company removes accounts run by or on behalf of sanctioned people and organizations.
It also removes posts that commend the actions of sanctioned parties and individuals and seek to help further their actions, the spokesperson said, adding that Facebook has an appeals process if users feel their posts were removed in error.