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Iran Says It Has Captured and Killed Spies as Oil Tanker Standoff Intensifies

HeadlineJul 22, 2019

In Iran, authorities say they’ve arrested 17 Iranian citizens and charged them with being CIA-trained spies for the United States. Iranian media reports some have already been executed.

This comes as tensions in the Persian Gulf continued to mount over the weekend following Iran’s seizure of a British oil tanker and its 23 crew members Friday. Iran said it seized the tanker in retaliation for the British impounding of an Iranian tanker earlier this month off the coast of Gibraltar. The Iranian National Guard released video Sunday showing the vessel flying an Iranian flag. Britain says Iran forced the Stena Impero out of international waters and rerouted the tanker into Iranian territory. Audio released Sunday appears to show an Iranian official directing the vessel to change course.

Iranian official: “Stena Impero, Stena Impero, I say again my last: You are ordered, change your course to 360, 360 degrees, immediately. If you obey, you will be safe. Over.”

Britain classified Iran’s capture of the tanker as a “hostile act.” Today Prime Minister Theresa May, who is expected to leave office on Wednesday, is holding emergency Cabinet meetings.

This comes as Iran continues to deny President Trump’s claim that the U.S. military shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke out again against the harsh U.S. sanctions while at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, calling them “economic terrorism pure and simple.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has said U.S. troops are being deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend American interests from “emergent credible threats.” The Saudi kingdom has not hosted U.S. combat forces since 2003, when Donald Rumsfeld announced their withdrawal. We’ll have more on the latest in Iran after headlines.

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