Iran says CIA spy of Iranian origin detained

US surveillance drone on display in Iran Spy allegations and the capture of a US drone are the latest twists in the US-Iranian intelligence war

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The authorities in Iran say they have detained an alleged CIA spy - the latest in a series of such claims.

The man was of Iranian origin and had received sophisticated intelligence training, Iranian state media say.

US officials have indicated to the BBC that they reject the claim as Iranian propaganda.

Iran's government has repeatedly accused the United States of carrying out covert intelligence operations in order to undermine it.

Washington says Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a claim Iran denies.

The Iranian intelligence ministry issued a statement on the alleged infiltrator, which was broadcast on state TV:

"This CIA agent of Iranian nationality began his mission after receiving training in weapons use," it said.

"But he was identified by Iranian intelligence agents and his espionage missions were revealed."

The man was not named.

Earlier spy claims

On several occasions Iran has announced the arrest of alleged American spies but has provided little information to substantiate its claims.

In May 2011, Tehran claimed it had detained a network of 30 CIA operatives, saying they had been involved in espionage and sabotage.

It said the US had offered visas and residency to educated Iranians in an effort to gather information on Iran's nuclear and defence capabilities.

On Tuesday Iran indicted 15 people on charges of spying for America and Israel but gave few other details.

The United States rarely comments on intelligence matters.

However, President Obama did admit earlier this month that Iran was in possession of a sophisticated US reconnaissance drone which had come down on Iranian territory.

The Iranians displayed the unmanned aircraft on TV, saying they had taken control of it in mid-air and had captured it intact.

Tehran has refused an American request to return the drone.

Iran is coming under growing diplomatic pressure over its nuclear activities.

It follows a report in November by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which expressed serious concerns about "possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme".

Iran says its nuclear work is for purely peaceful purposes.

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