14:45 GMT +318 November 2019
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    This April 13, 2016 file photo shows the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

    Iranian Media Releases Photos of Alleged CIA Officers as 17 Spies Identified

    © AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster
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    Earlier, Iranian authorities announced that a "large US cyber-espionage" network run by the CIA had been busted in the country, with several spies being arrested.

    According to semi-official Fars news agency citing an Iranian intelligence ministry official, 17 CIA-trained spies have been identified. 

    "Some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment," ministry official said.

    "The rulings for these spies have been issued and a number of them will be executed as corruptors on Earth," the director-general of the intelligence ministry's counterespionage department said as quoted by the Fars news agency.

    "Some were approached when they were applying for a visa, while others had visas from before and were pressured by the CIA in order to renew them," he added.

    ​According to reports, spies were arrested during the Iranian calendar year that ended in March 2019.

    ​​US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, addressing the incident, said that he cannot comment specifically but noted that Iran has a history of lying.

    The media report, which has yet to be confirmed, follows Tehran's announcement on 17 June that the country had dismantled a CIA-run "large US cyber-espionage" network

    According to Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, the cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries has led to “the disclosure and dismantling of a network of CIA officers, as well as the detention and punishment of several spies.”

    In June, Iranian defence employee, Jalal Haji Zwar, who allegedly collaborated with the CIA and spied for the United States, has been executed in Rajaishahr Prison. Jalal Haji Zwar worked as a contractor for the ministry-controlled Aerospace Industries Organization, but was dismissed in 2010.

    Earlier, two oil tankers, the Panama-registered Kokuka Courageous, operated by Japan's Kokuka Sangyo Co, and Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, owned by Norway's Frontline, were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman, near the Strait of Hormuz.

    Shortly after the incident, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Tehran of orchestrating the attacks, with the US CENTCOM releasing a video claiming to show Iranian sailors removing an unexploded mine from the hull of one of the tankers as "proof" of Tehran being the culprit.

    Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated in the last months, as Tehran withdraws from voluntary obligations set under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal and the US builds up its military presence in the Middle East.

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    espionage, CIA, United States, Iran
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