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US intelligence agencies: Iran, Russia trying to interfere in election

WASHINGTON: US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on Wednesday that Russia and Iran have both tried to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.

Mr Ratcliffe made the announcements at a news conference that also included FBI Director Chris Wray.

"We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran, and separately, by Russia," Mr Ratcliffe said.

Most of that voter registration is public. But Mr Ratcliffe said officials "have already seen Iran sending spoofed e-mails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump".

Mr Ratcliffe was referring to e-mails sent on Wednesday that were designed to look like they came from the pro-Trump Proud Boys group, according to government sources.

Outside experts said that if Mr Ratcliffe was correct, Iran would be trying to make Mr Trump look bad by calling attention to support and threats by the sometimes violent group.

A spokesman for Iran's mission to the United Nations denied Iran had sought to meddle in the US election.

"Iran has no interest in interfering in the US election and no preference for the outcome," spokesman Alireza Miryousefi said.

US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who received a classified briefing on Wednesday afternoon, said: "It was clear to me that the intent of Iran in this case and Russia in many more cases is to basically undermine confidence in our elections. This action I do not believe was aimed... at discrediting President Trump." - REUTERS

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