Tue, 26 May 2020

Iranian authorities say they have arrested 17 suspects and sentenced some of them to death after breaking up a CIA spy ring.

Iran's Intelligence Ministry said on July 22 that Iranian security agencies "successfully dismantled" what it described as a CIA "spy network" on July 18.

"Some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment," said one ministry official, whose name was not revealed.

'The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centers in the economic, nuclear, infrastructure, military, and cyber areas...where they collected classified information,' an Intelligence Ministry statement said.

According to Iranian state media reports, those suspected of spying for the CIA were arrested during the Iranian calendar year that ended in March 2019.

Iranian state media also have released photographs that purportedly show "CIA officers" that Iranian authorities say were in touch with spies in Iran.

The announcement follows months of growing confrontation between the West and Iran since crippling U.S. sanctions took effect at the start of May against Iran.

Last week, Iran seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz after British Royal Marines on July 4 seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar for allegedly attempting to illegally smuggle oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, Fars News Agency

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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