TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has arrested 12 agents of the American Central Intelligence Agency, the country’s official IRNA news agency reported, quoting an influential lawmaker.
Parviz Sorouri, a member of the powerful parliamentary committee on foreign policy and national security, said the alleged agents were operating in coordination with Israel’s Mossad and other regional agencies, targeting the country’s military and its nuclear program.
“The U.S. and Zionist regime’s espionage apparatuses were trying to damage Iran both from inside and outside with a heavy blow, using regional intelligence services,” Sorouri was quoted as saying Wednesday.
“Fortunately, with swift reaction by the Iranian intelligence department, the actions failed to bear fruit,” Sorouri said.
The United States and its allies suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon program, a charge Iran denies.
The lawmaker did not give the nationality of the alleged agents nor when or where they were arrested.
The CIA declined to comment on the report.
Iran periodically announces the capture or execution of alleged U.S. or Israeli spies, and often no further information is released.
The latest claim follows the unraveling by Lebanon’s Hezbollah of a CIA spy ring in that country. Hezbollah has close ties to Iran.
Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, boasted in June on television he had unmasked at least two CIA spies who had infiltrated the ranks of the organization. Though the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon denied that, American officials conceded that Nasrallah was not lying and that Hezbollah had subsequently methodically picked off CIA informants.