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Iran Claims 17 Alleged CIA Spies Arrested

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Iran says it has arrested 17 Iranian nationals allegedly recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the country’s nuclear and military sites, and that some of them have already been sentenced to death.

The arrests took place over the past months and those taken into custody worked on “sensitive sites” in the country’s military and nuclear facilities, an Iranian intelligence official told a press conference in Tehran.

He did not say how many of them got the death sentence nor when the sentences were handed down.

The announcement on Monday comes as Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers is unravelling and tensions have spiked in the Persian Gulf region.

The crisis stems from President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of Tehran’s deal last year and intensify sanctions on the country.

The official claimed that none of the 17, who allegedly had “sophisticated training,” had succeeded in their sabotage missions.

Their spying missions included collecting information at the facilities they worked at, carrying out technical and intelligence activities and transferring and installing monitoring devices, he said.

The official further claimed the CIA had promised those arrested US visas or jobs in America and that some of the agents had turned and were now working with his department “against the US”

In June, Iran said it executed a former staff member of the Defence Ministry who was convicted of spying for the CIA.

In April, Iran said it uncovered 290 CIA spies both inside and outside the country over the past years.

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