According to US intelligence services, Russia and Iran attempted to influence next month's presidential election in the United States using information obtained from the electoral roll. For the experts questioned by the American press, Tehran and Moscow thus seek to undermine the confidence of citizens in democratic institutions.
This could be the "first concrete evidence that Iran and Russia are trying to influence the US presidential election with just two weeks before the polls," said the New York Times. In a press conference announced at the last minute on Wednesday evening, US intelligence director John Ratcliffe claimed that Tehran and Moscow had got hold of the data of some US voters and had taken action to influence them to the approach of the presidential election of November 3.
The announcement came after Democratic voters said they received threatening emails addressed to them personally on behalf of the Proud Boys, a far-right group. The messages instructed them to vote for Trump.
"The sending of these emails marks an unusual escalation of Iranian interference"
The American intelligence agencies expected that Russia, which interfered in the American election of 2016, for the benefit of Donald Trump, to invite itself again in the campaign of 2020. On the other hand, the cyber experts believe that the Iran's attempts to influence have reached a new, more unexpected level. “The sending of these emails marks an unusual escalation of its interference,” NPR said.
“In recent years, Iranian intelligence operations have continued to push their limits using increasingly daring and innovative methods. Nonetheless, this incident marks a fundamental shift in our understanding of Iran's willingness to interfere in the democratic process, ”said cybersecurity expert John Hultquist.
“Iran’s intentions are unclear,” the New York Times said. “Mr. Ratcliffe claimed the efforts were aimed at harming President Trump, and intelligence officials said Iran was opposed to the president's re-election. But the emails had the effect of intimidating Democrats. They could therefore also have harmed Joe Biden's campaign, ”notes the daily.
Tehran seeks to “discredit American democracy”
John Ratcliffe's statements sparked the ire of some elected Democrats on Wednesday evening, who accuse the US intelligence director of seeking to "declassify information in the run-up to the election to support Trump's campaign," CNN notes.
Geopolitics expert Ariane Tabatabai, for her part, told the Washington Post that it was "obvious that Iran has an interest in this election due to the maximum pressure exerted by the Trump administration on Tehran. But according to her, the Iranian regime also has a broader objective, similar to that of Russia, which is “to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and elections, because discrediting democracy allows Iran to show its people […] That its democratic ambitions are not worth pursuing ”.