In recent months, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has taken action against US and British resources. (AP through Mehr News Agency: Morteza Akhoondi)
Iran says it has arrested 17 Iranians allegedly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the country's nuclear and military sites, and some have been sentenced to death.
- An important official of the Iranian intelligence made a rare appearance to confirm the disclosure
- They claimed that the Iranians used by the CIA were promised visas and jobs in the United States
- Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo said the CIA's latest espionage statements in Iran were lies
The arrests took place in recent months and those taken into custody worked on "sensitive sites" in the country's military and nuclear facilities, an Iranian intelligence official told a news conference in Tehran.
He did not elaborate on those who were sentenced to death, or details when the sentences were handed down.
The announcement comes as the United States continues to impose severe sanctions on Tehran, triggered after the Trump administration entered into a landmark nuclear deal in 2018.
In recent months, tensions between Iran and Western powers have calmed down in the Persian Gulf region, with Iranian forces shooting down a US military drone while also seizing a British flag tanker.
Tehran says captured spies have "failed"
The alleged spies were accused of spying on sensitive military and nuclear sites. (Fars Press Agency: Mehdi Marizad, AP)
The Iranian official did not give his name, but was identified as the director of the intelligence department of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.
This procedure is very unusual in Iran, as officials usually identify themselves in press conferences. It is also rare for intelligence officials to appear before the media.
The official said that none of the 17, who allegedly had "sophisticated training", had succeeded in their sabotage missions.
Their espionage missions included gathering information at the facilities where they worked, carrying out technical and intelligence activities and transferring and installing monitoring devices, he said.
The official further stated that the CIA had promised US visas or jobs arrested in America and that some of the agents had turned and were now working with his "against the United States" department.
He also released a CD with a video recording of an alleged foreign spy working for the CIA.
The disc also included names of several members of the American Embassy in Turkey, India, Zimbabwe and Austria, who claim that Iran was in contact with the recruited Iranian spies.
& # 39; Iran is a total disaster! & # 39;
In a tweet commenting on Tehran's latest statements, US President Donald Trump said the news of the arrests is "totally false".
"The Iranian report that captures CIA spies is totally false: zero truth, only more lies and propaganda (like their downed drones) issued by a religious regime that is failing badly and has no idea what to do" , wrote Trump.
"Their economy is dead and much worse, Iran is a total disaster!"
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former director of the CIA, declined his mandate on Monday to respond to the specifics of the arrests. But he added: "The Iranian regime has a long history of lies".
Pompey pointed out the differences between reports from the United States and Iran on the location of an unmanned American drone that the Iranians shot down in June, among other incidents.
"It's part of the nature of the ayatollah lying to the world," he said.
"I will take Iranian statements about the actions they have undertaken with a significant advance."
The former director of the CIA said he was in the "nature" of the Iranian Ayatollah lying to the world. (Flickr: Gage Skidmore)
Mr. Pompeo, speaking from Orlando, Florida, told "Fox & Friends" that Iran has been around for 40 years "behaves in ways that normal nations don't. Don't take citizens of other countries and take them hold hostage for political gain ".
"I think this is just another proof of the outlawed nature of the Iranian regime," he added.
Occasionally, Iran announces spy detentions that say they work for foreign countries, including the United States and Israel.
In June, Iran declared that it had executed a former member of the Ministry of Defense staff, who was convicted of spying on the CIA.
In April, Iran stated that it had discovered 290 CIA spies both inside and outside the country in recent years.
ABC / AP
Iran (Islamic Republic of,
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