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Old 07-22-2019, 12:46 PM
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Exclamation Iran says it will execute group of alleged CIA-trained spies

Iran says it will execute group of alleged CIA-trained spies
By: GOLNAR MOTEVALLI / JOSH WINGROVE / Bloomberg & Stars & Stripes - 7-22-19
RE: https://www.stripes.com/news/iran-sa...spies-1.591396

Iran, locked in a worsening political standoff with Western powers, has handed down death sentences to several nationals accused of being part of a CIA-trained spy network uncovered earlier this year, an official said on Monday.

President Donald Trump denounced the Iranian report as "totally false" on Twitter Monday. "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," Trump said. Beyond that, an administration official said the White House doesn't comment on intelligence activities.

In Tehran, a senior intelligence official told foreign media that 17 people had been arrested. None of the suspects are dual nationals, according to the official, who declined to be identified and didn't say how many were sentenced to death.

The announcement marks a show of force by Iran at a time of turbulent ties with the U.S. after the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic and reimposed crippling sanctions on its economy.

The friction was made worse by a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the U.K., which seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar earlier this month, saying it carried oil bound for Syria in violation of United Nations sanctions. Iran responded by holding a British tanker on Friday near the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping chokepoint through which about 40% of the world's seaborne oil travels.

Asked about Iran's arrest of spies Monday on Fox News, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Iran "has a long history of lying." Iran's announcement about the arrests is "further evidence of the outlaw nature of the Iranian regime," he added.

Iran has also accused Trump and his administration of lying about its operations related to Iran, including U.S. statements that it brought down an Iranian drone last week.

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry has detected an uptick in U.S. efforts to recruit spies in Iran since Trump's election in 2016 and the appointment of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA last year, the Iranian official said. He said the CIA had worked with a number of countries in Europe and in Asia in establishing the spy network inside Iran.

Videos released to Iranian media showed hidden camera footage purportedly of Persian-speaking CIA officers in Dubai speaking with would-be recruits. According to the official, who said his title was director-general of the anti-espionage department of the Ministry of Intelligence, the alleged spies used fake rocks hidden in mountainous areas of Iran in order to receive information.

Iranian officials have identified some of the alleged officers who had recruited the suspects as diplomats based in Turkey, Zimbabwe and Finland.

A program aired by state television on Monday showed clips of Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton with Hormuz as the backdrop. The show identified the alleged members of the cell and contained what the network said were confessions by the accused, whose faces were blurred and voices distorted.

The alleged spies were trained by the CIA to gather classified information from sensitive locations in Iran including military bases, nuclear facilities and economic centers, the official said. The American spy agency lured recruits by promising residency and jobs in the U.S. and safe passage out of Iran, setting up shell companies as a cover to approach and hire Iranians, he added.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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Old 07-22-2019, 12:49 PM
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Question 2nd Report: Iran arrests 17 nationals, claims they are CIA spies

2nd Report: Iran arrests 17 nationals, claims they are CIA spies
By: Ramin Mostaghim & Nabih Bulos - LA Times & WarIsBoring - 7-22-19
Re: https://warisboring.com/iran-arrests...are-cia-spies/

Iran claimed Monday that it had smashed a CIA spy ring on its soil, saying some of the 17 Iranian nationals netted by authorities had already been sentenced to death.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, in an interview with Fox News, dismissed the claims, insisting that “the Iranian regime has a long history of lying.”

“It’s part of the nature of the ayatollah to lie to the world,” Pompeo said in reference to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion of actions they have taken.”

Speaking to dozens of journalists assembled in the underground press club of Iran’s Ministry of Culture, an Iranian counterintelligence official said the 17 detained Iranian nationals had been working in a number of key private-sector institutions in “economic, nuclear, infrastructure, military and cyber fields.”

“We have intelligence dominance over the CIA’s espionage activities in Iran,” said the official, who identified himself as “director-general of the intelligence ministry’s counter-espionage department” but declined to give his name.

An accompanying presentation provided to journalists showed business cards for a number of U.S. diplomats based in Turkey, Austria, Zimbabwe and elsewhere who Iranian officials said recruited the spies when they were applying for U.S. visas.

“Some of the Iranian citizens get into the ‘visa trap’ and they are asked to become spies if they want to receive visas,” the official said.

Others, he said, were framed by the CIA when they wanted to “maintain or extend their visas.” CIA officers also approached Iranian citizens through shell companies or “on the sidelines of scientific conferences in European, African and Asian countries,” he said.

The spies were foiled through inter-service cooperation with Iran’s intelligence allies, the official said. Countries whose intelligence services allowed the CIA to recruit on their soil would “be held responsible,” he warned.

The presentation also featured images, said to be of CIA operatives, taken from the suspected spies’ phones. The spies were enticed, said the official, with promises of immigration to the U.S. as well as jobs and money once there.

In March, Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s intelligence minister, said in an interview with the Iranian news agency Tasnim that authorities had apprehended 290 suspected spies. Iranian intelligence services routinely claim to have captured spies working for the United States or Israel.

Monday’s assertions come amid tensions between Tehran and Washington, as well as an Iranian standoff with Britain over tit-for-tat seizures of oil tankers at sea.

The alleged spy bust, the official said, was “another global failure for the CIA.”

“Considering that CIA has been crippled, it will be natural that this service tries to restore and rebuild itself, and of course Iranian intelligence community will always be wakeful and vigilant,” he said.

———

(Ramin Mostaghim is a Los Angeles Times special correspondent.)
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Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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