“One of the most complicated CIA cyber espionage networks...was exposed,” said Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
By Celia Konstantellou
Rabat – A senior Iranian security official announced on Monday, June 17, that Tehran recently unveiled and dismantled a large cyber espionage network run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
According to the statement made by Iranian official Ali Shamkhani, the investigation led to the arrests of several US spies.
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“One of the most complicated CIA cyber espionage networks that had an important role in the CIA’s operations in different countries was exposed,” said Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. “We shared the information about the exposed network with our allies that led to the identification and arrest of CIA intelligence agents,” he added.
Shamkhani did not specify how many CIA agents were arrested or in which countries.
Already high, US-Iranian tensions increased following US President Donald Trump’s accusations that Tehran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz last week.
Iran vehemently denied any involvement in the reported attacks. Tehran also implied that Washington itself could have engineered the attacks to add pressure on the Islamic Republic on top of economic sanctions.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), called on the international community to take a “decisive stand” over the oil tanker attacks, while Iran has accused its main regional rival of adopting a “militaristic, crisis-based approach” to the incident.
Amid the frosty relations between the US and Iran, Shamkhani said that Iran has chosen to publish information on the cyber network for the sake of public awareness.
The US has previously implicated Iran in accusations over cyber espionage, claiming that Iran uses fake social media accounts to harm enemies through propaganda. Such claims have worsened the already turbulent US-Iranian relationship.
As of last year, Trump’s administration withdrew the United States from an international nuclear deal with Iran, seeking to end Iran’s international sales of crude oil and restrain its economic activity.
The United States yesterday; June 17, the deployment of an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East adding further pressure to the region’s already complicated dynamics.