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Iran says 17 CIA spies arrested, some sentenced to death

22 July 2019

State television quoted the Intelligence Ministry as saying it had broken up a CIA spying ring and captured 17 suspects.

"Some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment".

Last week, Iran seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz after British Royal marines on July 4 seized an Iranian tanker of the coast of Gibraltar for allegedly attempting to illegally smuggle oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Relations have deteriorated sharply since US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, and particularly since the United States past year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear treaty that Iran reached with major world powers.

Some of them had been recruited by falling into a "visa trap" set by the Central Intelligence Agency for Iranians seeking to travel to the United States.

Last month, the director of the Intelligence Ministry's counterespionage department had said that the country's intelligence forces had dealt a "heavy blow" on the United States by detecting and disbanding two sophisticated cyber espionage networks affiliated to the CIA. Earlier, the U.S. had blamed to fires in oil tankers in the region.

According to semi-official Fars news agency citing an Iranian intelligence ministry official, 17 CIA-trained spies have been identified.

He added that they were employed in sensitive centers or worked in private sector firms related to these centers active in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas.

Iran says 17 CIA spies arrested, some sentenced to death