IRAN claims it has captured 17 “CIA spies” and sentenced some of them to death as the crisis with the West escalates.
An Iranian intelligence ministry official claims US spooks infiltrated critical sectors, including economic, nuclear, military and cyber sectors.
State television quoted the Intelligence Ministry as saying it had broken up a CIA spying ring and captured 17 suspects.
A ministry official said some of those arrested had been sentenced to death, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Iran is second only to China in the number of executions — officially about 500 people are put to death annually on charges ranging from murder, drug dealing to opposing the regime or being gay.
Firing squads or hanging is the preferred method.
According to Amnesty International confessions are extracted under torture and some trials are held in secret.
Today’s announcement comes after three months of spiralling confrontation with the West that began when new tighter US sanctions took effect at the start of May.
Last week Iran captured a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz after Britain’s Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar in July 4.
A ministry statement said: “The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information.”
It was not immediately clear if the arrests were linked to the case in which Iran said in June it had exposed a large cyber espionage network it alleged was run by the CIA, and that several US spies had been arrested in different countries as a result of this action.
More to follow…
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