Iran Claims Arrest of 17 CIA Spies 07/22 06:23
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran said Monday it has arrested 17 Iranian nationals
allegedly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the country's
nuclear and military sites, and that some of them have already been sentenced
The arrests took place over the past months and those taken into custody
worked on "sensitive sites" in the country's military and nuclear facilities,
an Iranian intelligence official told a press conference in Tehran.
He did not elaborate, say how many of them got the death sentence nor when
the sentences were handed down.
The announcement comes as Iran's nuclear deal with world powers is
unraveling and tensions have spiked in the Persian Gulf region. The crisis
stems from President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of
Tehran's deal last year and intensify sanction on the country.
The Iranian official did not give his name but was identified as the
director of the counterespionage department of Iran's Intelligence Ministry.
Such a procedure is highly unusual in Iran; officials usually identify
themselves at press conferences. It is also rare for intelligence officials to
appear before the media.
The official claimed that none of the 17, who allegedly had "sophisticated
training," had succeeded in their sabotage missions. Their spying missions
included collecting information at the facilities they worked at, carrying out
technical and intelligence activities and transferring and installing
monitoring devices, he said.
The official further claimed the CIA had promised those arrested U.S. visas
or jobs in America and that some of the agents had turned and were now working
with his department "against the U.S."
He also handed out a CD with a video recording of an alleged foreign female
spy working for the CIA. The disc also included names of several U.S. Embassy
staff in Turkey, India, Zimbabwe and Austria who Iran claims were in touch with
the recruited Iranian spies.
There was no immediate comment from Washington.
Occasionally, Iran announces detentions of spies it says are working for
foreign countries, including the U.S. and Israel. In June, Iran said it
executed a former staff member of the Defense Ministry who was convicted of
spying for the CIA.
In April, Iran said it uncovered 290 CIA spies both inside and outside the
country over the past years.