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Iranian Intelligence Denies Hardliners' Claim Of A Spy At Oil Ministry

File photo - Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh, who is close to President Hassan Rouhani has come under sustained attacks by hardliners.

An unnamed official at the Islamic Republic's Ministry of Intelligence has denied that a female spy infiltrated the Ministry of Petroleum, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-run Tasnim news agency reports.

Earlier, two MPs, who have recently attacked the oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, with a barrage of criticism, had claimed that Iranian intelligence agents arrested a team of spies that infiltrated the ministry.

On June 23, Tasnim had cited two hardline parliament members, Hossein Ali Haji Deligani and Abolfazl Aboutorabi as saying, "The country's intelligence agents have captured a female spy who had infiltrated into the Oil Ministry."

The female was the leader of an espionage team that had infiltrated the Ministry of Oil, the ultraconservative MPs claimed.

Aboutorabi had told Tasnim on June 23, "The detainee is an Iranian lady who had infiltrated into the Oil Ministry, and was in contact with sixteen ministerial managers, and had plans to influence them."

He also blamed the United States as the country behind the spy conspiracy.

However, Tasnim reported on Tuesday that an official at the Ministry of Intelligence has dismissed the claim as baseless.

Nonetheless, another IRGC-run news agency (Fars), that also filed the same report based on the comments of the two lawmakers has not yet published the denial.

Aboutorabi is the same member of parliament who claimed recently that intelligence agents had discovered three credit card readers with one trillion rials (approximately $23.7 million) cash flow, and some hard currencies in cash, as well as some gold at the oil minister's office.

The Ministry of Petroleum dismissed Aboutorabi's allegations as baseless and has reportedly filed a legal complaint against him.

The minister of oil Zanganeh belongs to President Hassan Rouhani's political circle and a target for Iran's hardliners.