The Latest: Iran says 17 CIA spies arrested, some sentenced

15
The Latest: Iran says 17 CIA spies arrested, some sentenced
A speedboat and a helicopter of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard move around a British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero which was seized on Friday by the Guard, in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, Sunday, July 21, 2019. Iranian officials say the seizure of the British oil tanker was a justified response to Britain's role in impounding an Iranian supertanker two weeks earlier off the coast of Gibraltar, a British territory located on the southern tip of Spain. (Hasan Shirvani/Mizan News Agency via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on tensions in the Persian Gulf (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Iran says it has arrested 17 Iranian nationals allegedly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the country’s nuclear and military sites, and some of them have already been sentenced to death.

An Iranian intelligence official told a press conference on Monday in Tehran that the arrests occurred over the past months. He did not say how many got the death sentence.

The announcement comes as Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers is unraveling and tensions spike in the Persian Gulf region.

The official did not give his name but was identified as the director of the counterespionage department of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. Such a procedure is highly unusual in Iran; officials usually identify themselves at press conferences.

The official said some of those arrested worked in nuclear and military sites. He claimed none had succeeded in their sabotage missions.

—Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran;

___

9:55 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will chair an emergency security session to discuss how to respond to Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The meeting of security ministers and officials on Monday will discuss how to secure shipping in the sensitive region, which is vital to the world’s oil supply.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is also expected to brief Parliament on the Friday seizure of the Stena Impero tanker, now in a heavily guarded Iranian port.

Britain is considering a number of options to raise the pressure on Iran but officials say military operations are not being considered at the moment.

Britain is also seeking diplomatic and operational support from key European allies in an effort to keep the Strait of Hormuz open to shipping.