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Iran Intervened in 2020 Election to ‘Undercut’ Trump, Intel Report Says

Then–president Donald Trump (left) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the second 2020 presidential campaign debate in Nashville, Tenn., October 22, 2020 (Morry Gash/Reuters Pool)

Iran intervened in the 2020 election to “undercut” President Trump’s campaign, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a report released Tuesday.

“We assess that Iran carried out a multi-pronged covert influence campaign intended to undercut former President Trump’s reelection prospects” without promoting President Biden, the ODNI said. “We assess that Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei authorized the campaign and Iran’s military and intelligence services implemented it using overt and covert messaging and cyber operations.”

Trump ordered the U.S. to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, and in early 2020 ordered the killing of top general Qasem Soleimani, who oversaw the country’s covert campaigns in Syria.

The ODNI also concluded that Russia aimed to undermine Joe Biden’s candidacy and support Trump’s reelection. Russian president Vladimir Putin and a number of state agencies authorized those operations, according to the report.

The agency said that China considered efforts to attempt to change the outcome of the elections, but ultimately did not interfere. That country “assessed its traditional influence tools — primarily targeted economic measures and lobbying — would be sufficient to meet its goal of shaping U.S.-China policy regardless of the winner.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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