Two Iranians were behind 2020 emails that threatened violence against people unless they voted for Trump: feds
Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in Osaka, Japan (CNN/screen grab)

Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged two Iranian nationals with sending out emails to voters that threatened them with violence unless they supported former President Donald Trump in 2020.

As NBC News reports, the emails were sent out last fall and were purportedly from the far-right Proud Boys gang, whom Trump infamously told to "stand back and stand by" during his first debate with President Joe Biden.

In reality, however, the emails were sent by Iranians Seyyed Mohammad Hosein Musa Kazemi and Sajjad Kashian, who were allegedly trying to compromise voter registration websites in 12 states.

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"This indictment details how two Iran-based actors waged a targeted, coordinated campaign to erode confidence in the integrity of the U.S. electoral system and to sow discord among Americans," explained Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division. "The allegations illustrate how foreign disinformation campaigns operate and seek to influence the American public. The department is committed to exposing and disrupting malign foreign influence efforts using all available tools, including criminal charges."

Although the indictment of the two men does not say that they were working on behalf of the Iranian government, NBC News notes that other intelligence officials in the past have linked the scheme to an Iranian intelligence operation.