Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray held a press conference Wednesday informing the American people that Iran has been trying to influence the presidential election. Now, the Trump administration is taking action against the regime.
The Washington Examiner reported that the United States has placed new sanctions on a number of Iranian groups that have been interfering in the 2020 election, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“State propaganda machine”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the sanctions on Friday.
“For far too long, the Iranian regime has used its state propaganda machine to lie to the Iranian people and fan the flames of hatred against the United States,” Pompeo said. “Iran has now deployed some of the same propaganda and media infrastructure in an attempt to undermine elections in the United States.”
Pompeo then listed five Iranian entities that have been engaged in these nefarious activities.
“The five entities designated — the IRGC, the IRGC-Qods Force, Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute, Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union, and International Union of Virtual Media — have engaged directly or indirectly in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in, foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election or are owned or controlled by entities engaged in such activity,” he said.
Pompeo continued, “Over the past few months, Bayan Gostar, a front company for IRGC-QF propaganda efforts, has actively planned influence operations involving U.S. elections. IRTVU and IUVM appear to be propaganda arms of the Iranian regime that assisted in these efforts.”
In response to the interference, Pompeo said the Trump administration is placing these sanctions on the Iranian groups immediately.
“The whole of the U.S. government is using all the tools at our disposal to target those who attempt to interfere in our democratic process,” he said.
This comes after Ratcliffe on Wednesday revealed that “we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia. This data can be used by foreign actors to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” Reuters reported.
Alireza Miryousefi, an Iranian government spokesman, denied the allegations of election interference: “These accusations are nothing more than another scenario to undermine voter confidence in the security of the U.S. election and are absurd. Iran has no interest in interfering in the U.S. election and no preference for the outcome.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seemed to downplay the threat. “Iran is a bad actor but in no way equivalent [to Russia],” she said Thursday, The Hill reported.