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17 Jun, 2019 17:00

Iranian admiral urges ‘destabilizing’ US to leave Persian Gulf, reveals arrests of CIA-run agents

Iranian admiral urges ‘destabilizing’ US to leave Persian Gulf, reveals arrests of CIA-run agents

Tehran is well able to provide security in regional waters, Iranian Admiral Ali Shamkhani has said, branding the US the main source of “crisis and instability” and disclosing arrests made in the wake of a “CIA-run spy ring” bust.

“We have always said we guarantee the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” Iranian Admiral Ali Shamkhani said on Monday, as quoted by the IRIB broadcaster.

The US military presence in the Persian Gulf is nothing but a threat, the official stressed. He brought up the fate of Iran Air Flight 655, a passenger jet that a US destroyer shot down in 1988 while providing “protection” for Kuwaiti-owned oil tankers during the Iran-Iraq war.

We repeat our stance and call on US forces to finish their presence in the region as they are the main source of crisis and instability.

The remarks from Shamkhani, who serves as the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, come in the wake of the oil tanker incidents in the Gulf of Oman. On Thursday, two vessels were damaged by explosions under unclear circumstances. The US and some of its allies, pinned the blame on Tehran, while Iran in turn accused Washington of staging a false-flag operation.

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But the Iran-US tensions are far from being limited to incidents at sea. Shamkhani also revealed details about what he called the busting of a large cyber-espionage ring that was run by the CIA.

“One of the most complicated CIA cyber espionage networks that had an important role in the CIA’s operations in different countries was exposed by the Iranian intelligence agencies a while ago and was dismantled,” Shamkhani said.

He did not elaborate which countries were involved, but said that “allies” were able to arrest an unspecified number of agents.

We shared the information about the exposed network with our allies that led to the identification and arrest of CIA intelligence agents.

Iran has repeatedly accused Washington of waging cyberwarfare. The CIA-run cyber-espionage ring was first mentioned by top Iranian officials in April. Back then, Tehran said it exposed the network that included some 290 agents operating in Iran and several more countries in the region.

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