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Iran Claims It Captured 17 'CIA Spies,' Sentenced Some To Death

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Iran's intelligence ministry claimed that 17 Iranians who were recruited by the CIA to spy on the Islamic nation's nuclear and military sites have been arrested, and some of them sentenced to death.

The head of counterintelligence at the Ministry of Intelligence, who did not disclose his identity, said in a media briefing on Monday that security agencies successfully dismantled a network of US intelligence agents who infiltrated into Iran's economic, nuclear, military and cyber sectors.

"Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary. Some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment," he told reporters in Tehran.

The top intelligence official neither did clarify the so-called spies' identity, nor when they were arrested.

US President Donald Trump denied the claim.

"The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false," he said on Twitter. There is "Zero truth" in it, he added.

He described it as "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 Iran's economy is dead, and will get much worse. "Iran is a total mess."

Iran's claim comes four days after Trump said a US warship has destroyed an Iranian drone above the Strait of Hormuz, as it came dangerously close to the vessel. Iran refuted it.

US-Iran relation is at its lowest point after a spate of recent incidents.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone last month, alleging that it violated Iranian airspace for spying. But US denied the allegation, saying the aircraft was attacked in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.

An open war between the United States and Iran was averted after Trump changed his decision at the last minute to order a military attack on the Islamic nation in retaliation for targeting its drone.

The President followed it up by imposing sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear weapons program.

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