Iran executes 'defence ministry contractor' over spying for CIA

Clay Curtis
June 25, 2019

In recent weeks, hackers believed to be working for the Iranian government have targeted USA government agencies, as well as sectors of the economy, including oil and gas, sending waves of spear-phishing emails, according to representatives of cybersecurity companies CrowdStrike and FireEye, which regularly track such activity.

The UAE is a stop on a regional tour created to increase coordination with Washington's regional allies as tensions continue to simmer.

Hostilities between the U.S. and Iran have renewed last week after Tehran shot down an American spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

Speaking to NBC News after calling-off retaliatory missile strikes, Trump said: "I'm not looking for war, and if there is, it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before". "In some cases we are going slowly, but in other cases we are moving rapidly".

Mr Trump, who was speaking to reporters at the White House, made his comments after recently calling off military actions against Iran to retaliate for the downing.

This comes amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.

Iran has denied responsibility for those attacks.

"We will continue to work with our Gulf partners on the many aspects of our new foreign policy against Iran", he said.

Trump announces new sanctions on Iran
The U.S. has applied sanctions to almost 1,000 Iranian entities, including banks, individuals, ships and aircraft. The US said the drone was in global territory when it was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

The drone could have entered Iran's airspace over a mistake by "a general or some operators", the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace arm, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told state news agency IRNA on Saturday.

"Threat for threat means that if the enemy fires a single bullet at us, it will receive 10 bullets and have to pay a heavy cost", he added, warning that any act of aggression against Iran will draw such a "historic response" that would make the assailants regret their move.

While Tehran claimed the drone violated its airspace, the United States maintained it was shot down over global waters.

The incident happened amid a volatile situation between Washington and Tehran as the Trump administration warned industry officials to be alert for cyber attacks originating from Iran.

CrowdStrike and FireEye, which regularly track such activity, say in recent weeks hackers believed to be working for the Iranian government have targeted US government agencies, as well as sectors of the economy, including oil and gas.

Iran has reportedly executed one of its former defence ministry employees on suspicion of being a spy for the US.

IRIB said he was executed at the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, west of the capital Tehran, without providing further details.

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