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Iran Says US Vote Hack Allegation 'Absurd'

Tehran on Friday hit back at allegations by Microsoft that Iran based hackers had targeted the US presidential campaigns, declaring it does not care about the election's outcome.

Microsoft claimed that it has thwarted cyber attacks by hackers from China, Russia and Iran who have been targeting staff from the campaigns of President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden, ahead of the November vote.

Both the Trump and Biden campaigns have been cited by media as saying they were aware of being targeted by hackers.

"The United States, which has for decades been meddling in the elections of other countries such as Iran, is in no place to make such absurd claims," state news agency IRNA quoted Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying.

As an instance, he pointed to the role of the US Central Intelligence Agency in a coup in 1953, which toppled hugely popular prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, who had called for Iran's oil to be nationalised.

It was clear that "foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting" the November 3 election, Microsoft said on Thursday.

The firm said an Iran-based group called Phosphorus has been targeting personal accounts of people associated with the Trump campaign.

"For Tehran, it does not matter who is in the White House. What matters is Washington's commitment to international rights, rules and norms, not meddling in others' affairs and acting on their commitments," Khatibzadeh said.

Decades-old tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated since 2018, when Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a multinational accord that limited Iran's nuclear programme. Trump subsequently reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran's economy.

Animosity further deepened after a US drone strike near Baghdad airport killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in January.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said that they favour no specific candidate in the 2020 election, while also calling for Washington's return to the 2015 nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions.

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