Another day, another fresh source of friction between the West and Iran. On Monday, Iran said it arrested 17 of its own citizens who were spying for the US, reports Reuters. Iran said some would be executed, but it did not say how many. According to the state-run Fars news agency, the CIA recruited workers at nuclear and military sites, as well as in the private sector, and wooed them with promises of jobs in the US and easy US visas, per USA Today. Iran said it broke up the spy network last month and is just revealing its scope Monday. Neither the CIA nor the US government has responded to the allegations.
Those arrested spoke of "tempting promises of CIA officers including emigration to USA, a proper job in America, and money," said a document from Iran's Intelligence Ministry, as quoted by CNN. Some of those who avoided death sentences agreed to spy on the US in return, according to Fars. All this comes amid mounting friction over ships and drones, and continuing fallout from the US decision to withdraw from a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. (Over the weekend, audio emerged of Iran's Revolutionary Guards seizing a British-flagged ship.)