Britain has said Iran’s execution of Anglo-Iranian Alireza Akbari on suspicion of spying was a “barbaric” act that could never be escaped.
The hanging of former Iranian Defense Minister Akbari, who was sentenced to death for British espionage in what critics called a “political” decision, was announced by Iran’s Justice Ministry’s Mizan news agency on January 14. It took place, although some reports indicate it may have been days earlier.
Akbari is believed to have been arrested in 2019 after reportedly moving to the UK and returning to Iran after being briefly detained in Iran in 2008. Few details about his case have been made public, as accusations of espionage and other crimes related to Iranian national security are usually done behind closed doors.
Mizan reported on 14 January that Akbari had been executed after he was “sentenced to death for corruption on earth and widespread actions against national and international security through espionage by the British government’s intelligence services”. bottom.
The report also alleges Akbari was paid more than $2 million for espionage.
Iranian state media aired a video this week showing Akbari’s involvement in the 2020 assassination of one of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. No confession is shown, only stating that a British agent asked him for information on Fahrizadeh. Tehran blamed Israel for the assassination.
Akbari was sentenced to death last week after Britain and the United States called on Iran not to carry out the sentence.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded on Twitter to reports that Akbari had been hanged on January 14, calling the execution “an insensitive and despicable act by a barbaric regime that does not respect the human rights of its own people”. is.
Iran does not recognize dual citizenship for its citizens.
“This barbaric act deserves condemnation in the strongest possible terms. This will be absolutely intolerable,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley wrote in a tweet on January 14.
Iran’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it had summoned the British ambassador to Tehran to protest alleged acts against Iran’s national security.
“The country’s ambassador to Tehran, Simon Sharkliffe, was summoned today in response to Britain’s unconventional intervention, including in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s national security area,” the ministry said in a statement. . “The UK government should be held accountable for establishing unconventional communications that led to the attack. [Iran’s] international security. “
“The UK government must accept the consequences of its responsibility to continue its unorthodox and interventionist approach,” the statement added.
Akbari served as deputy to Iran’s Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani from 1997 to 2005 as part of the administration of reformist former President Mohammad Khatami. Akbari was formerly an adviser to the Iranian Navy, and from 1980 he implemented UN resolutions ending the 1988 Iran-Iraq War.
In an audio recording broadcast last week in BBC Persian, Akbari said he confessed to a crime he did not commit while being tortured during months of detention.
“I was interrogated and tortured over 3,500 hours in 10 months,” he said. “All of it was captured on camera….By using gun power and making death threats, they forced me to confess to false and unsubstantiated allegations.
In a video broadcast by Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA on January 12, Akbari spoke about being asked by British agents about nuclear scientist Fahrizadeh.
“They wanted to know about high-ranking officials according to major developments,” Akbari said. [the agent] Fahrizadeh asked me if I could participate in this or that project, and I replied why. “
The execution comes as relations between Iran and Britain have deteriorated in recent months and London has criticized Tehran’s crackdown on mass protests in Iran.
Renowned Iranian Lawyer Saeed Deghan criticized In a January 14 tweet, Akbari’s death sentence was “political.” Although he is believed to be living abroad, a lawyer who has represented many cases involving Iranian dual nationals said Britain would not formally declare Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. suggested that it was related to reports that they were planning to