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Photo illustration: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Republican senators led by Ted Cruz in a letter Thursday suggested Twitter may be violating U.S. sanctions by letting Iranian leaders maintain accounts, which they asked company CEO Jack Dorsey to ban.

The big picture: Twitter has become a major political target for Cruz and other Republicans, who claim the company and other Silicon Valley giants are biased against conservatives and the Trump administration.

"While the First Amendment protects the free speech rights of Americans – and Twitter should not be censoring the political speech of Americans – the Ayatollah enjoys zero protection from the United States Bill of Rights," the senators wrote.

Details: The White House in June announced sanctions against top officials in Iran, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

  • The senators argue the sanctions prohibit American companies from providing goods or services to the officials, including internet-based services, and note that both have Twitter accounts.
  • "We therefore call on you to comply with those sanctions by ceasing the provision of services to Khamenei, Zarif, and any other designated Iranian entity," the senators said.
  • Sens. Tom Cotton, Marsha Blackburn and Marco Rubio signed the letter, which was also sent to President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Attorney General Bill Barr, and the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.

Twitter declined to comment on the letter.

The catch: Twitter has long maintained that it's in the public interest for political figures to be permitted to speak on the platform, even if people find that speech objectionable. The company has used that same line of reasoning to explain why it hasn't cracked down on Trump despite tweets that seem to break platform rules such as a ban on targeted harassment.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

A health care worker preparing a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine dose in New York City on Oct. 21. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the Food and Drug Administration Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Changing the inflation conversation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Inflation looks like it’ll run hot for longer than plenty of smart people thought it would. The conversation over just how much more Americans will have to pay for their stuff has taken on a new intensity, as supply problems show few signs of fading.

Why it matters: The rate of price growth has remained consistently strong in recent months — a time that some thought would bring cooling prices after an initial reopening spike. What goes on with prices will influence the decisions made by Congress, the Biden Administration, and the Federal Reserve.

The biggest headline from Biden's town hall

President Biden greets attendees during a commercial break in Baltimore last night. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

What matters from President Biden's town hall with CNN's Anderson Cooper at Baltimore Center Stage on Thursday:

The biggest headline: Biden is jettisoning the corporate tax increases that White House officials have insisted, for the past 10 months, are wildly popular across the country. He admitted he doesn't have the votes.