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US sanctions Iranian entities for attempted poll interference

The US has imposed new sanctions on five Iranian entities for "attempting to influence" the November 3 American presidential election.

US sanctions Iranian entities for attempted poll interference


In a statement on Thursday, the Treasury Department said its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), and Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute (Bayan Gostar) for "having directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference" in the upcoming election.

The Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU) and International Union of Virtual Media (IUVM) were also designated for "being owned or controlled by the IRGC-QF", it added.

The IRGC, including the IRGC-QF, has been designated under multiple authorities since 2007.

According to the statement, Bayan Gostar since 2015 has served as a front company for IRGC-QF propaganda efforts.

In the months leading up to the election, "Bayan Gostar personnel have planned to influence the election by exploiting social issues within the US, including the Covid-19 pandemic, and denigrating American political figures", it said.

The statement also claimed that the IRTVU and IUVM aided Bayan Gostar in efforts to reach American audiences.

As per the new designations, all property and interests in property of the persons subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and American persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

"The Iranian regime uses false narratives and other misleading content to attempt to influence US elections," Treasury Secretary Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying in the statement.

"This administration is committed to ensuring the integrity of the US election system and will continue to counter efforts from any foreign actor that threatens our electoral processes," he added.

Thursday's sanctions came a day after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that Iran has sent emails to intimidate US voters and damage President Donald Trump's image in the presidential election.

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