President Trump announced this morning that the report that Iran captured 17 CIA spies was “totally false.”

“The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do. Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!” he wrote on Twitter.

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The Islamic nation had claimed today that it arrested 17 Iranian nationals who had been recruited by the CIA and that some had already been sentenced to death.

An Iranian intelligence official said at a press conference in Tehran that the arrests took place over the past few months and that those captured had worked on “sensitive sites” within the nation’s military and nuclear industries.

AP reports:

The Iranian official did not give his name but was identified as the director of the counterespionage department of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. Such a procedure is highly unusual in Iran; officials usually identify themselves at press conferences. It is also rare for intelligence officials to appear before the media.

The official claimed that none of the 17, who allegedly had “sophisticated training,” had succeeded in their sabotage missions. Their spying missions included collecting information at the facilities they worked at, carrying out technical and intelligence activities and transferring and installing monitoring devices, he said.

The news comes as tensions are escalating in the Persian Gulf region.

Last week, the USS Boxer, an American assault ship, destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz  after it came within 1,000 feet of the ship and ignored stand down orders.

On Friday, Iran captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.