According to Iranian officials, the radical Islamic country is claiming to have infiltrated and exposed a Central Intelligence Agency ‘spy ring’ including 17 agents, and has supposedly issued death sentences for some of them.
President Trump says that the country is lying. And the evidence seems bizarre.
Zero Hedge reported:
Iran has handed down the death penalty to alleged members of a CIA-spy ring inside Iran’s military, which authorities said they uncovered earlier this year. And now for the first time, state media is circulating photos purporting to show some among the alleged CIA-linked operatives.
“The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centers in the economic, nuclear, infrastructure, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information,” Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence said on state television. They had been working “contractors or consultants,” the statement said.
— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) July 22, 2019
Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili had first announced in June that a number among seventeen total alleged spies rounded up were facing execution because of the “severity of their crimes,” as reported by NBC.
The unnamed defendants were reportedly associated with the Iranian military and also followed a similar announcement made last August the arrest of “tens of spies” uncovered within the government.
The agencies “successfully dismantled a (CIA) spy network,” an official only identified as head of counter-intelligence at the Iranian intelligence ministry, told reporters in Tehran. Arrests reportedly began in March
“Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary… some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment,” he said, as cited by the AFP. However, the photos published – which appear to show Americans – only claim these are officers which had been “handling” the spies supposedly caught inside Iran.
Some of the CIA agents’ documents pic.twitter.com/CBYCuLQ8pO
— Reza Khaasteh (@Khaaasteh) July 22, 2019
None of the initial photos released showed those pictured in any kind of detention or interrogation, but instead most appeared to be personal or family photos. As Reuters reports:
Iranian state television published images it said showed the CIA officers who were in touch with the suspected spies.
There was no immediate comment on the Iranian allegations by the CIA or U.S. officials.
Additionally, in another stunning development, an Iranian television documentary aired Monday which claimed to show footage of an alleged CIA officer attempting to recruit an unidentified Iranian man. The footage was presented as taking place inside the United Arab Emirates.
Documents alleging to “prove” the allegations were also posted online by Iranian media channels.
First video released of one of the CIA spies in Iran pic.twitter.com/T9O2LUrq6x
— Reza Khaasteh (@Khaaasteh) July 22, 2019
“Because there are so many intelligence officers in Dubai. It is very dangerous… Iranian intelligence,” a blond-haired woman was shown telling the man. According to Reuters:
The woman spoke Persian with an accent which appeared to be American.
State media outlets had touted the documentary as dealing a heavy blow “to a CIA spy network in the region and beyond.
⚡️⚡️⚡️ Coming soon on @PressTV: The Mole Hunt ⚡️⚡️⚡️#Iran has dealt a heavy to a @CIA spy network in the region and beyond. The upcoming documentary will shed more light on Iran’s counter-intelligence operations. pic.twitter.com/mlQ3e8aqft
— Press TV (@PressTV) July 19, 2019
The photos and video purporting to show CIA assets and operatives have yet to be confirmed or denied by US political or intelligence officials and come amid already soaring tensions have put the region on edge, and as Britain has demanded the release of the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero, captured in the Strait of Hormuz Friday.
The Sun reported:
An Iranian intelligence ministry official claims US spooks infiltrated critical areas, including economic, nuclear, military and cyber sectors.
The claims were made in a documentary on state television which said it had rumbled a CIA spying ring which involved recruiting Iranian civilians.
An official, who did not give his name but was identified as the “director of the counterespionage department of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry” claimed that none of the 17, who allegedly had “sophisticated training,” had succeeded in their sabotage missions.
The spying missions were said to have included collecting information at the facilities they worked at and installing monitoring devices.
Stone like containers were allegedly used to exchange intelligence material.
The official also claimed the CIA had promised those arrested US visas or jobs in America.
And he said some of the agents had turned and were now working with his department “against the US”.
He also handed out a CD with a video recording of an alleged foreign female spy working for the CIA in Dubai where it’s alleged many American spy recruiters are based.
The disc also included names of several US Embassy staff in Turkey, India, Zimbabwe and Austria who Iran claims were in touch with the recruited Iranian spies.
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 people it executes every year — 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.
Donald Trump tweeted that the report was “totally false”.
He said: “The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth.
“Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do.
“Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!”
The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do. Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2019