TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Twitter has suspended the account of Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh, claiming it violated the website’s rules against impersonation.
An official at Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak to the media, said the suspension appeared to be linked to sanctions. Zanganeh was personally sanctioned by the U.S. on Oct. 26.
"The account was suspended for violation of the Twitter rules against impersonation,” a spokesperson for the social media company said in an email to Bloomberg, without giving any more details.
Washington began targeting the Iranian oil business in 2018 after leaving a historic nuclear agreement between Tehran and others and returning the sanctions that the deal had lifted.
Back then, the White House alleged that it sought to reduce the Iranian oil exports to "zero,” and started to gradually rescind waivers that would enable Iran to sell oil overseas despite the coercive economic measures.
Despite taking an initial hit, the oil industry rallied fast, with the country succeeding to sell huge volumes of crude via "anonymous routes.”
In late September, Samir Madani, co-founder of the TankerTrackers group, told Reuters that the Islamic Republic was selling "close to 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in both crude and condensate so far this month.”
"These are levels we haven’t seen in a year and a half,” he added.
Zanganeh has himself asserted that the U.S. bans have no practical effect and stem from Washington’s grudge toward Tehran.
Reacting to a raft of sanctions targeting him and his colleagues at the Petroleum Ministry, the minister has called the measures a "passive reaction” by Washington to its own defeat in bringing down Iran’s oil exports to zero.