CIA agent owns up to anti-Iran mission
A frame grab obtained from a video aired on the Iranian television on December 18, 2011 shows Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the CIA spy recently detained in the Islamic Republic.
A CIA spy recently detained in the Islamic Republic has confessed to having been on a mission to infiltrate the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.
In a televised confession, broadcast on the Iranian television on Sunday night, the operative, named Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, said he joined the US Army in 2001 and underwent decade-long intelligence training.
He added that he was sent to the US-run Bagram Air Base in eastern Afghanistan and given access to classified intelligence before flying to Tehran.
Hekmati of Iranian origin, who was born in the southwestern US state of Arizona, said he intended to win the confidence of the Iranian intelligence apparatus with the information he had been given by the agency.
"It was their (the US Central Intelligence Agency's) plan to first burn some useful information, give it to them (the Iranians) and let Iran's Intelligence Ministry think that this is good material," he said.
Iran says its networks, tasked with monitoring the activities in the Bagram base, had learned about Hekmati there and thwarted the operation.
This is not the first time Iran has arrested CIA spies. On May 30, members of a CIA espionage and sabotage network were arrested by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.
On November 24, Iran once again announced the arrest of a dozen CIA spies, who were found to have been on a mission to sabotage the country's nuclear facilities and other important compounds.
Another CIA espionage network with 12 members was busted in Iran and Lebanon in cooperation with the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah. According to Parviz Sorouri, a member of Iran's Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, the captured spies were basically on a mission to cripple Iran in nuclear, military, and security areas.
Analysts point to a recent hike in the CIA's anti-Iran missions, citing the agency's recent dispatch of an RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft over Iran.
On December 4, the Iranian military's electronic warfare unit announced that Iran had downed with minimal damage the reconnaissance aircraft, while it was in violation of the Iranian airspace.
The aircraft, designed and developed by the American company Lockheed Martin, had crossed Iran's border with Afghanistan and was brought down as it was flying above the northeastern city of Kashmar.
US intelligence officials confirmed two days later that the drone had been part of a CIA reconnaissance mission, which had aimed to gather information about Iran's sensitive facilities by flying along the common border.