Russia, Iran deny US charges of election meddling

Moscow, Oct 22 (efe-epa).- The governments of Russia and Iran rejected on Thursday accusations from Washington that they are trying to influence the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election in the United States.

It’s been said that Russia is working “actively” to interfere in the US election, said Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech at the Valdai international debate club, but he categorically denied meddling in the US vote.

Putin emphasized that “all the investigations” carried out by the US government “didn’t lead to anything” and only verified “the lack of proof of Russian interference.”

He admitted that crimes in cyberspace have been perpetrated, currently are occurring and will continue to occur, but he added that it’s crucial the Russia and the US reach an agreement on cybersecurity since it’s “extremely important for the whole world.”

The Russian leader recalled that during his last months in office, former US President Barack Obama showed interest in the matter, but when he left the presidency the process had to start again “from zero” with the new US administration.

If one country feels that another is interfering in its affairs, governments need to establish general rules and devise instruments for verification and control in this area, Putin said.

He expressed confidence that after the US election is over, “our (US) partners will return to this issue and respond positively to our proposal.”

In Tehran, the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry relayed to Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner its “strenuous protest” over the remarks on Wednesday by US National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe, who warned that Iran and Russia are trying to interfere in the Nov. 3 election.

The Swiss have been designated by the US and Iranian governments to act as intermediaries in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Iran’s strong rejection of American officials’ repetitive, baseless and false claims was conveyed to the Swiss ambassador. … As we have said before, it makes no difference for Iran who wins the US election,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

He complained in a statement that it is Washington and the US intelligence services who have “a long history of interfering and creating chaos in the elections of other countries.”

“Iran advises the United States to abandon its useless attempts to blame others … and to try to behave as a normal state on the level of international relations,” he added.

Ratcliffe reported Wednesday night that US intelligence services had identified two foreign actors – Iran and Russia – as having taken specific actions to influence public opinion in the run-up to the Nov. 3 vote.

According to the national intelligence chief, both Moscow and Tehran have accessed data on US voters and US authorities have already “seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President (Donald) Trump.”


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