|Parliamentiary official says arrested CIA agents were operating in coordination with Israel's Mossad [GALLO/GETTY]
Iran has arrested 12 agents of the United States (US) national security intelligence agency, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the country's official IRNA news agency reported.
The agency quoted Parviz Sorouri, a member of the powerful parliamentary committee on foreign policy and national security, as saying on Wednesday that the alleged agents were operating in coordination with Israel's Mossad and other regional agencies, targeting the country's military and its nuclear programme.
"The US and Zionist regime's espionage apparatuses were trying to damage Iran both from inside and outside with a heavy blow, using regional intelligence services," Sorouri was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
"Fortunately, with swift reaction by the Iranian intelligence department, the actions failed to bear fruit," Sorouri said.
The US and its allies suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon programme, a charge Iran denies.
Sorouri did not give the nationality of the alleged agents nor when or where they were arrested.
The CIA declined to comment on the report.
Iran periodically announces the capture or execution of alleged US or Israeli spies, and often no further information is released.
The latest claim follows the unraveling by Lebanon's Hezbollah of a CIA spy ring in the country. Hezbollah has close ties to Iran.
Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, boasted in June on television that he had unmasked at least two CIA spies who had infiltrated the ranks of the organisation.
Though the US Embassy in Lebanon denied that, American officials conceded that Nasrallah was not lying and that Hezbollah had subsequently methodically picked off CIA informants.