TEHRAN – An Iranian secret service official said 17 CIA-trained spies had been identified in the country, media reports said.
According to the Fars news agency, citing an Iranian official, some of the detainees were sentenced to death without revealing the exact number.
Media reports, which have not yet been confirmed, follow Tehran’s announcement on June 17 that Iranian authorities had dismantled a “large US cyberspace network” run by the CIA in the country.
According to the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Ali Shamkhani, cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries led to the “identification and dismantling of a network of CIA officers as well as the detention and punishment of several spies.”
In June, an Iranian Defense official, Jalal Haji Zwar, who allegedly collaborated with the US intelligence agency and spied for the United States, was executed in Rajaishahr prison. Zwar worked as a contractor for the Ministry of Aerospace Industries, but was fired in 2010.
‘War of Oil Tankers’
This announcement of Iranian intelligence comes at a time of great tension between US, UK and Iran over the so-called Oil Tanker War.
Recently, two Kokuka Courageous vessels, registered in Panama and operated by the Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo Co, were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz.
Shortly after the incident, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Tehran of orchestrating the attacks, and CENTCOM released a video showing Iranian sailors allegedly removing a mine by exploding from the hull of one of the tankers as “evidence “that Tehran was to blame.
Tensions between the US and Iran have increased in recent months as Tehran withdraws from the voluntary obligations set out in the Joint Action Plan (JCPOA) and the US reinforces its military presence in the Middle East.