Iran has arrested 17 of its citizens whom it accused of spying for the Central Intelligence Agency, the foreign espionage agency of the United States of America.
In a statement read on state television on Monday, the Iranian military said it will execute the arrested perons for the alleged crime, adding that some of them have been executed.
According to an official, who only identified himself as the director of the counterespionage department of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, explained that the dismantling and round-up of the alleged suspects occurred in March.
“The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centers in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas…where they collected classified information.
“The rulings for these spies have been issued and a number of them will be executed as corruptors on Earth,” the official said.
The official added that the US had abused the Iranian visa application process and enticed Iran citizens to spy for them in exchange for a US visa.
“Since CIA abuses the process of US visa application, some of the Iranian citizens get into the visa trap and they are asked to be hired as spies in return for a US visa. Some others who intended to maintain or extend their visas, have been framed up by the CIA, in violation of the US laws.
“Some of the CIA’s baits managed to escape this trap with the help of their lawyers.
“Through establishing windon companies and under the pretext of hiring Iranian specialists in these corporations or supplying equipment from abroad, the CIA arranges to get up approaches to Iranian citizens,”
“Something in common among all members of this network is the promise to guarantee spies safety both in and outside Iran and the full assurance about not being detected by Iran counter espionage,” the official said.
Iran later released some pictures of persons accused to be spies recurited by the US.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, while not commenting directly on the spy report, advised caution and noted Iran has a history of lying.
“It’s part of their nature to lie to the world,” Pompeo told “Fox & Friends” on Monday.
“I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions they’ve taken.”
The US has increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf region in recent weeks after it alleged provocative moves by Tehran that included attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, the downing of a U.S. drone and the seizure of a British tanker.