TehranAFP photo

Iranian state television broadcast on Wednesday what it said was the "confession" of a Westerner who said he had spied for the Central Intelligence Agency, AFP reported.

The Iranian report, entitled "The hunter trapped," showed a long-haired man of European appearance in his thirties identified as Matti Valok, whose nationality was not given.

It said he was arrested in August after being kept under surveillance for several months by Iran's security services, and broadcast footage of the suspect in Tehran streets and in a hotel in the capital.

The channel said the suspect was accused of contacting Iranian scientists to seek information on "the country's scientific progress," using a Slovakia-based international recruitment agency that he had created.

In the report, "Valok" tells how he was recruited by a U.S. agent he named as Steve Logano.

"He told me I had to keep in close contact with the people I met in Iran," he said, before adding his "apologies to the Iranian people."

Tehran regularly accuses the United States of espionage in Iran, but it is rare for foreigners admitting such activities to be shown on television, noted AFP.

The state channel also showed footage of what it presented as other spies, but without saying if or when those suspects had been detained.

It said U.S. citizen Stefan Raymond, born in 1967, and Marc Antony Vandiar, born in South Africa in 1958, worked "for the CIA and tried to garner information on Iranian biotechnology."

A Moroccan named as Faisal, a "specialist in information technology," and a Malaysian Christian called Douglas Fernandez using the alias Ali Abderani also sought to acquire information on the Islamic Republic's "scientific, nuclear and military progress," it said.

Last year, an Iranian court sentenced to death an Arizona native of Iranian descent on charges of working for the CIA.

Iran's Supreme Court later overturned the death sentence and ordered a retrial after the family of the alleged spy, 28-year-old Amir Mirzai Hekmati, insisted he had visited Iran to visit his grandmother.

When Hekmati was arrested, Iran claimed that he had sought to infiltrate Iran’s secret services and funnel false information to deceive Iranian intelligence. The attempted infiltration was allegedly "part of a complicated intelligence battle the U.S. has launched against Iran."