The US has accused the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, among others, of attempting to interfere in the upcoming elections.
The United States has sanctioned five Iranian groups that allegedly tried to meddle in the upcoming presidential election between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
In a statement on Thursday, the US Treasury Department said it had identified the elite Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the IRGC’s Quds Force and the Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute as “directly or indirectly engaged, sponsored, hidden or labeled” otherwise Involved in foreign interference ”in the November 3rd elections.
It also referred to the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union and the International Virtual Media Union as “owned or controlled by the IRGC’s Quds Force,” the department said.
“The Iranian regime is using false narratives and other misleading content to try to influence the US election,” Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, said in the statement.
“This administration is committed to the integrity of the US electoral system and will continue to counter the efforts of foreign actors who threaten our electoral process.”
In April 2019, the USA identified the IRGC as a foreign “terrorist organization” as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy against Tehran.
Separately on Thursday, the US Treasury Department also sanctioned the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, accusing him of acting “for or on behalf of” the IRGC’s Quds Force.
The new names, which freeze the groups’ assets in the US and prohibit US citizens from contacting them, come after the US top intelligence official accused Iran and Russia of trying to publicize them before the elections Influencing opinion.
“We confirmed that some voter registration information was obtained from Iran and separately from Russia,” said John Ratcliffe, director of the National Intelligence Service, during a press conference Wednesday.
While most of this voter information is public, Ratcliffe said government officials “have already seen Iran send fake emails to intimidate voters. [and] stimulate social unrest and harm ”.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden and US President Donald Trump will face each other on October 22nd in their closing debate ahead of the November 3rd US presidential election [File: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP]Ratcliffe was referring to emails sent on Wednesday that were supposed to look like they came from the Proud Boys, a far-right white supremacist group, government sources told Reuters.
A number of voters in Florida and other major US states said they received the news.
Iran rejects claims
Iran summoned the Swiss envoy on Thursday to protest the so-called “unfounded” US claims.
“Iran’s strong rejection of the repeated, unsubstantiated and false claims made by American officials has been reported to the Swiss ambassador,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state television. “As we said before, it makes no difference to Iran who wins the US elections.”
Switzerland represents the interests of the USA in Iran because Washington and Tehran do not have diplomatic relations. Tensions between the two countries have increased since 2018, when Trump left the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and tightened sanctions against Tehran.
As we said earlier, it makes no difference to Iran winning the US elections
Earlier on Thursday, US spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said that while Iran is a “bad actor”, Russia is the real villain in allegations of meddling in the elections.
“Anything we have seen publicly here does not justify the statements we heard yesterday,” Pelosi told reporters before a secret briefing with intelligence officials.
“Russia is the bad guy here. From what we have seen publicly, Iran is a bad actor, but in no way equal, ”Pelosi later added.
Russian also denied the US allegations. “Such accusations come up every day, they are unfounded and based on nothing,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.