Iran has dismantled a CIA-run “large US cyber-espionage” network, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) reported, citing the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani.
“Given the cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries in creating an ‘international organisation to counter American espionage’, we provided our partners with information that led to the disclosure and dismantling of a network of CIA officers, as well as detention and punishment of several spies in different countries”, the senior official said.
Shamkhani added that since some aspects of the case have already been disclosed by the CIA itself, the Ministry of Intelligence can also publish the documents.
The development comes a few days after Iran urged the United States to cease “warmongering” and false flag operations in the region after Washington accused Tehran of being behind attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
The Iranian side has vehemently denied the allegations and called on the US to stop the “blame game”.
“Suspicious acts in the Gulf of Oman against oil tankers… seem to be supplementary to the [US] economic sanctions as the Americans went nowhere with the sanctions, [also] especially given America’s historical record in the area [of false flag ops]”, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani said over the weekend.
On 13 June, two oil tankers, the Panama-registered Kokuka Courageous, operated by Japan’s Kokuka Sangyo Co, and Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, owned by Norway’s Frontline, were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman, near the Strait of Hormuz.
Shortly after the incident, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Tehran of orchestrating the attacks, with the US CENTCOM releasing a video claiming to show Iranian sailors removing an unexploded mine from the hull of one of the tankers as “proof” of Tehran being the culprit.
The footage has, however, been questioned by US allies and the Kokuka Courageous tanker’s operator, who said that it was not enough to prove Washington right.
Tensions have been simmering in the Gulf region since the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, but were exacerbated last month after the Pentagon deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran that any attack on American interests or those of its allies would be met with “unrelenting force”.