Iran’s Judiciary spokesman says a number of spies trained by the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) working at sensitive Iranian military centres have been arrested, and may receive death penalties for espionage.
The spies were arrested in late 2018 and early 2019 by Iranian intelligence forces, while they were working in sensitive centres, Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili told a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.
He said two of the spies who were not working in military centres were tried in the Revolution Court and received long-term prison terms.
Some others who worked at military centres were tried in the military court, and the prosecutor has demanded death penalty for them, he said, adding that their cases are awaiting final verdict.
Back in April, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi announced Iran has identified 290 CIA agents across different countries, forcing the US to form a special committee to reassess its cloak-and-dagger operations.
“CIA operatives in those countries were identified and arrested and the contacts of the US intelligence agency with its sources were disrupted in such a way that a committee to assess the failure was set up in America,” Alavi said.
He touched on what numerous US spy experts have said about the major intelligence defeat, making reference to a specific November 2018 Yahoo News article that had interviewed numerous American spy experts over the “incredibly damaging” incident.
Referring to the article, Iran’s intelligence minister specifically highlighted a quote from American national security analyst Irvin McCullough, who described the major American intelligence setback as “one of the most catastrophic intelligence failures” since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Alavi said that further details of the operations would be publicized soon, adding that a similar successful counter-espionage operation had been carried out against Britain’s MI6 intelligence service.
In his Tuesday remarks, the Iranian Judiciary spokesman referred to the Intelligence Ministry’s operation and said Iran shared with friendly countries including China the information it had about those spies.