Iran, locked in a worsening political standoff with Western powers, has handed down death sentences to several nationals accused of being part of a CIA-trained spy network, an official said on Monday.
President Trump on Monday dismissed as “more lies and propaganda” claims out of Iran alleging authorities there had disrupted a CIA spy ring and sentenced several of the plotters to death — a development that threatened to further inflame an already precarious staredown between the Islamic Republic and the United States.
Trump’s tweet, which also mentioned an Iranian drone shot down by the U.S. Navy last week after the unmanned vehicle wandered too close to the USS Boxer, echoed comments made earlier in the morning by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and cast Tehran as flailing amid tough U.S. sanctions that threatened to strangle its economy.
“The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth,” Trump wrote. “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. Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!”
The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. 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. Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2019
The Iranian Intelligence Ministry has detected an uptick in U.S. efforts to recruit spies in Iran since the election of President Donald Trump in 2016 and the appointment of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA last year, the official said.
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