June 20, 2019
The United States has denied new claims by Iranian officials that Tehran and its allies have dismantled a U.S. cyber-spying network as part of a purported operation that led to multiple arrests of U.S. agents.
In a Tuesday statement issued in response to a query from VOA Persian, a U.S. official who declined to be identified, disputed Iran’s assertions that it recently successfully targeted a U.S. spy network.
Earlier Tuesday, Iranian state-run news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed director-general of Iran’s intelligence ministry as saying his department recently had “identified and dismantled” a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) cyber-espionage network. The official said Iranian authorities detained and transferred some of the U.S. agents to the judiciary, while other detained agents were undergoing further investigation.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani made a similar assertion the day before. Iranian state media cited him as saying Tehran provided its allies with information about the alleged CIA network, leading to the arrests of a number of spies in various countries. Neither Shamkhani nor the Iranian intelligence official specified how many alleged CIA agents were arrested or which other countries were involved in dismantling the network.
No other countries had announced arrests in connection with the purported Iranian-led anti-CIA operation by late Tuesday.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi previously asserted in April that Tehran had discovered a CIA spy network operating inside Iran and the region.
“In a complicated process against the (CIA), its espionage network was identified with 290 spies in different countries, including Iran,” state-run Mehr news agency quoted him as saying. The report also cited Alavi as saying Iran had offered information about the network to “friendly” nations, leading to the arrest of CIA agents.
It was not immediately clear if the alleged CIA network cited by Alavi in April is connected to the purported anti-CIA operation that Shamkhani and the unnamed intelligence official were referring to.