Elections

Russia, Iran caught trying to intimidate US voters ahead of key election

Salaam Times and AFP

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US voters line up to cast early ballots for the November 3 presidential election in Vienna, West Virginia, on October 21. [Stephen Zenner / AFP]

WASHINGTON -- The Russian and Iranian regimes have both obtained US voter information and taken actions to influence public opinion ahead of the November 3 presidential election, US officials announced Wednesday (October 21).

The Iranian regime specifically sent "spoofed" emails to Americans "designed to intimidate voters" and "incite social unrest", said US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

Tehran also distributed a video implying that criminals could send in fraudulent ballots, including from outside the United States, he added.

Both the Iranian and Russian regimes seek "to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine confidence in American democracy", said Ratcliffe.

"These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries," he said.

The announcement came after registered voters reported receiving personally addressed emails in the name of a known armed militia group in the United States.

Threatening content

The emails urged recipients to vote a certain way, "or we will come after you".

"We will know which candidate you voted for," they said. "I would take this seriously if I were you."

Ratcliffe, with US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray beside him, did not explain how the Russians and Iranians had obtained the voter information, or how the Russians might be using it.

The regimes of Russia, Iran and China are taking part in social media disinformation efforts aimed at influencing US voters, US intelligence has warned repeatedly.

US election systems remain safe, emphasised Wray.

"We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election," he said.

Officials in Iran and Russia Thursday (October 22) strongly denied the accusations.

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If I reach to power, I will also interfere in the elections of Russia and America in the future, because these two countries have interfered in the affairs of Afghanistan. In the past several elections, Ashraf Ghani was not the president, but Abdullah Abdullah was the president; however, since Abdullah is an agent of Russia, and he was not a reliable person before America, America did let him become the president, and in the near future, America may bring Taliban to power in Afghanistan only if they obey America, but if they do not obey America, they will never reach to power. The reason for the protracted intra-Afghan talks is also the same. Whenever Taliban become ready to implement America’s agendas in Afghanistan the way Ashraf Ghani does, they will take Ashraf Ghani out of the palace in the same day and replace him with Taliban.

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One cannot say anything about China and Russia, but Iran cannot manage its own government, then how can it has access to America? If Iran was that strong, they had to differentiate between the Ukrainian airplane and a missile. :)

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