UPDATE 1-Trump denies Iran arrested 17 individuals accused of being U.S. spies

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WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday categorically denied that Iran had arrested 17 individuals whom Tehran accused of being CIA spies and had sentenced some to dying, calling the studies “completely false.”

“The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is completely false. Zero fact. Simply extra lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Non secular Regime that’s Badly Failing and has no thought what to do,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Iran introduced the arrests in state media, saying the alleged spies had been captured within the 12 months to March 2019. Such bulletins will not be uncommon in Iran, however the timing has raised issues that Tehran is hardening its place through the tensions with Western powers.

The announcement got here after Washington stated it had shot down an Iranian drone, which Tehran denied.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo additionally solid doubt on the arrests in a tv interview earlier on Monday, saying, “The Iranian regime has a protracted historical past of mendacity.”

Trump has stated publicly he would meet with Iranian leaders to make an settlement on nuclear and different safety points, however Tehran has rebuffed such affords, saying it’s not open to talks with sanctions nonetheless in place. (Reporting by Makini Brice and Susan Heavey Modifying by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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