An alleged CIA agent being held in Tehran was shown on Iranian state television on Sunday.
The channel named the man as Amir Mirzai Hekmati and said he was an American of Iranian descent born in Arizona. The report showed Hekmati confessing to his “mission” to infiltrate the intelligence ministry, AFP said.
The Iranian channel said Hekmati joined the U.S. Army in 2001 and had a decade of intelligence training.
He reportedly was sent to the U.S.-run Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and given access to classified intelligence before flying to Tehran to try to entice the Iranians with it and establish his value to them.
“It was their plan to first burn some useful information, give it to the Iranians and let the intelligence ministry think that this is good material and contact me afterwards,” AFP quoted the man as having said in the broadcast.
The channel also said that “Iranian networks monitoring activities in the Bagram base” discovered Hekmati’s presence and blew the operation.
“I joined the army in 2001 after finishing high school and was trained in various military and intelligence fields,” the man was quoted as having said. “After they found out I knew a bit of Persian (Farsi) and Arabic, they said ‘we would like you to go to a certain school and learn Arabic.’”
Hekmati said that for the purpose of the mission he was told “to become a source for the (Iranian) intelligence ministry you go there (Tehran) for three weeks and feed them this information, get some money for it and come back.”
On Saturday, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said that its agents had arrested a person of Iranian origin on suspicion of spying for the United States.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said that "the recent arrest of the CIA agent in Iran proved to U.S. officials that any espionage operation against the Islamic Republic would make them suffer humiliation."
In an interview for the Nasim news agency quoted by the Tehran Times, he added that “The recent downing of the U.S. spy drone and the arrest of the CIA-linked spy illustrate the supremacy of Iran’s intelligence apparatus over the enemies.”