President Donald Trump says Iran's claim that it arrested 17 Iranian nationals recruited by the CIA to spy on the country's nuclear and military sites is "totally false."
Iran said Monday the arrests were made in recent months and some of the individuals have been sentenced to death.
Trump tweeted that there is "zero truth" to the claim.
U.S.-Iran relations have spiraled downward and tensions have spiked in the Persian Gulf. Iran's economy is suffering from crippling economic sanctions imposed after Trump last year pulled the U.S. out of Iran's nuclear accord with world powers.
He says Iran is a "total mess" and that the government is failing and doesn't know what to do.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined on Monday to address specifics of the arrests, but says "the Iranian regime has a long history of lying."