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Senator calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over Iran sanctions

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz accuses the social media giant of violating American sanctions on Iran.

James Martin/CNET

Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin calling for a criminal investigation into Twitter. Cruz alleges that the social media platform is "willfully violating American sanctions on Iran" by allowing Iranian leaders to maintain accounts on Twitter. 

The news was earlier report by Axios.

In February, Cruz and other senators sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking him to stop providing social media services to Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The senators alleged that allowing the Iranian leaders to hold Twitter accounts violated sanctions prohibiting American companies from providing goods and services to Khamenei and his office.

In the letter Friday, Cruz called for the Department of Treasury and Department of Justice to investigate Twitter.

"When a company willfully and openly violates the law after receiving formal notice that it is unlawfully supporting designated individuals, the federal government should take action," reads the letter. "The cohesion and legitimacy of our laws rest on their equal application to all citizens and entities, no matter how large or how powerful."

Twitter declined to comment. 

The letter from Cruz comes as Twitter is locked in a  high-profile fight with President Donald Trump. On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that aims to curtail legal protections that shield FacebookTwitter and other online companies from liability for content posted by its users.

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