Washington denies Tehran’s claim that it arrested 17 CIA spies

World Today

Iran’s state broadcaster announced on Monday that “a network of CIA spies were identified and overthrown”. It said some had been sentenced to death.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports

Tehran announced in June it had broken up an alleged CIA spy-ring. It wasn’t immediately clear if the two are connected.

“They put out propaganda. They put out lies.  Let’s see what happens with Iran. We are ready for the absolute worst and we are ready for sense, too. But we are very geared up,” said U.S. President Donald Trump.

Tehran said it is the U.S. that is lying; including what it said was Washington’s false claim last week that it brought down an Iranian drone.

The back and forth now includes the United Kingdom which early this month seized an Iranian ship off the coast of British Gibraltar. The Grace-1 was said to be carrying oil from Iran to Syria, in violation of EU sanctions. It’s still being detained.

Friday, Iran appeared to retaliate, seizing a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz – outside of Iranian waters, London said. 

Iran released this footage, showing part of the 23-man crew it’s currently detaining – along with the tanker – in the port of Bandar Abbas.

On Monday, Britain’s outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May, chaired an emergency response committee meeting to discuss the crisis.  Her government urged Iran to immediately release the crew.

“If Iran continues on this dangerous path they must accept the price will be a larger western military presence in the waters along their coastline. Not because we wish to increase tensions but simply because freedom of navigation is a principle which Britain and its allies will always defend,” Jeremy Hunt, British Foreign Secretary said.

The Trump administration on Monday also announced it was sanctioning a Chinese shipping company and its CEO. It said they knowingly transported Iranian crude oil in violation of U.S. restrictions a sign these tensions have a truly global reach.