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Instagram says it’s removing posts supporting Soleimani to comply with US sanctionsBy Donie O’Sullivan and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN BusinessUpdated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT) January 13, 2020 JUST WATCHEDSources: US targeted another Iranian military officialReplayMUST WATCHA couple got married with a volcanic eruption behind themIran’s sole female Olympic medalist says she’s defectedTaiwan’s president wins reelection in landslide victoryWriter: This is why it’s always Meghan Markle’s fault Watch Russian warship ‘aggressively’ encounter US shipThousands protest government’s climate policies in AustraliaTaal Volcano erupts in the Philippines Trump weighs in on royal family bombshellSources: US targeted another Iranian military officialOne Australian town’s long road to recovery from firesSource: Duchess of Sussex did not join Queen’s callNYT reporter: Russia hacked Ukraine gas companyQueen agrees on ‘period of transition’ for Harry and MeghanCNN exclusive: What’s left of Al-Asad air base after Iran missile attackProtests escalate after Iran admits it downed planeLittle Mermaid sprayed with political graffitiA couple got married with a volcanic eruption behind themIran’s sole female Olympic medalist says she’s defectedTaiwan’s president wins reelection in landslide victoryWriter: This is why it’s always Meghan Markle’s fault Watch Russian warship ‘aggressively’ encounter US shipThousands protest government’s climate policies in AustraliaTaal Volcano erupts in the Philippines Trump weighs in on royal family bombshellSources: US targeted another Iranian military officialOne Australian town’s long road to recovery from firesSource: Duchess of Sussex did not join Queen’s callNYT reporter: Russia hacked Ukraine gas companyQueen agrees on ‘period of transition’ for Harry and MeghanCNN exclusive: What’s left of Al-Asad air base after Iran missile attackProtests escalate after Iran admits it downed planeLittle Mermaid sprayed with political graffitiWashington DC (CNN Business)Instagram and its parent company Facebook are removing posts that voice support for slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani to comply with US sanctions, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business Friday.The Iranian government has called for nationwide legal action against Instagram in protest, even creating a portal on a government website for the app’s users to submit examples of posts the company removed, Iranian state media reported.Instagram is one of the few western social media platforms that is not blocked in Iran. Facebook and Twitter are blocked but some Iranians access those sites using VPNs.Twitter is not removing posts that support Soleimani, a company spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business on Monday. It said as long as Twitter users abide by company rules, their posts will not be removed.In a tweet condemning Instagram, Iran’s government spokesperson, Ali Rabiei, called the platform’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.”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.Iranian soccer player Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who has a verified Instagram account, posted a photo of Soleimani after his death. Jahanbakhsh said Instagram had removed that post.Details of the takedowns were reported earlier by Coda Story.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. Richard Nephew, a sanctions expert and a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, said that it could be argued social media posts supporting Soleimani “are helping the Iranian government and the IRGC, which would be a violation of sanctions.”But he added, “of course, this is a tough gray area as we also have free speech protections too. This is why I think companies often make mistakes in this area, both by preventing such posts or activities and by allowing them. It is a really murky area.”Google did not comment on its policy when contacted by CNN Business.