Tehran, July 22: Authorities in Iran busted an alleged CIA spying ring and arrested 17 suspects, according to Iranian media. Some of those arrested had been sentenced to death, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Monday. The report comes at a time when tensions are at its peak between Iran and the West following new tighter sanctions on Tehran by the United States.
"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," said a ministry statement read on state television. Iran in June had claimed to have busted a large cyberespionage network allegedly run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Iran Says Fate of Seized Ship Depends On Crew ‘Cooperation’.
Tensions between Iran and the US escalated after the White House announced in May 2018 that it would abandon the so-called Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the multilateral nuclear agreement with Tehran is formally known. War Threat Looms in Gulf as Iran Seizes British Oil Tankers.
Besides, Iran and Britain have been locked in a bitter row ever since a super tanker Grace 1 carrying Iranian crude oil was seized by the British marines in the Strait of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating European Union (EU) sanctions against Syria. In apparent retaliation, Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Friday seized the British oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz.