An Iranian official said that Tehran has arrested 12 people whom it claims are “CIA agents” - and that they had working in coordination with the Mossad and other security agencies. Parviz Sorouri, a member of the Iran government's foreign policy and national security committee, was quoted in Iranian media Wednesday as saying that “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. Fortunately, with swift reaction by the Iranian intelligence department, the actions failed to bear fruit," Sorouri said.
According to a report by an international news agency, the twelve are residents of Iran who received payment for reporting to the CIA on Iran's nuclear program. ABC News reported that U.S. officials are concerned over the “sloppy handling” of intelligence assets by handlers; besides the latest arrests in Iran, an alleged CIA spy ring was recently broken up in Lebanon by Hizbullah terrorists.
In June, Hizbullah chief terrorist Hassan Nasrallah said that several CIA spies who had infiltrated the terror group had been arrested. The U.S. denied that those captured worked for the CIA, but sources in the Obama administration were quoted as saying that Nasrallah “wasn't lying.”
Commenting on the arrests, a CIA official told ABC News that “Espionage is a risky business. Many risks lead to wins, but some result in occasional setbacks," the official said. Officials said they believed that the group captured in Lebanon were executed shortly after they were caught; in Iran, they said, a show trial is likely first, after which the 12 will be executed.
“Collecting sensitive information on adversaries who are aggressively trying to uncover spies in their midst will always be fraught with risk," the official told ABC.