Iran arrests 17 ‘CIA spies’, who now face death penalty
Seventeen CIA spies have been arrested in Iran and some of them will face the death penalty, Tehran claimed today amid a worsening Middle East crisis.
Iran’s intelligence ministry declared it had broken up an American spy ring and sentenced several of its members to death, according to state television.
“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,” a spokesman said.
L'#Iran publie des photos des certains des 17 membres de la #CIA et espions arrêté.
L'agence de presse diffuse également des documents appartenant aux prétendus espions de la #CIA.
Certains seront exécutés.#Tehran #CIA #UnitedStates
📸 @Khaaasteh pic.twitter.com/HACvS9F0Bv
— Rebecca Rambar (@RebeccaRambar) July 22, 2019
Washington has yet to respond but the spy claims are likely to send tensions spiralling further.
Iran has been feuding with the West for weeks over the crumbling nuclear deal and a series of threats to Middle East shipping, which heightened again last week when Tehran’s revolutionary guards seized a British tanker in the Straits of Hormuz.
Iran captured the Stena Impero Friday in retaliation for a British Royal Marine operation two weeks ago in which an Iranian vessel was seized off Gibraltar.
Video footage released by Iran showed the tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.
Authorities impounded the ship on allegations it failed to respond to distress calls and turned off its transponder after hitting a fishing boat.
Its crew is made up of 18 Indians, including the captain, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino.
A top British representative to the UN rejected Iran’s version of events, accusing Tehran of “illegal interference” and saying there was no evidence of a collision.