Ali Reza Akbari, a dual Iranian-British national, was hanged to death by the Iran regime for allegedly being a spy for MI6. He was arrested in 2019 and charged with spying.
Akbari, who once worked for Iran as deputy defense minister under Mohammad Khatami's regime, was also accused of receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds for providing intelligence to Britain.
Iranian reports stated that the Islamic Republic's intelligence unveiled the spy by feeding him false information. They described him as "one of the most important infiltrators of the country's sensitive and strategic centres.
It's unclear whether Akbari was executed today or days ago as being speculated.
Callous and Cowardly Act
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was appalled by Akbari's execution. He described it as a callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of their own people.
James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary, said Iran has executed a British nation. "This barbaric act deserves condemnation in the strongest possible terms. This will not stand unchallenged." He said the Iranian regime through this politically motivated act has once again shown its callous disregard for human life. "We will be summoning the Iranian Charge d'Affaires to make clear our disgust at Iran's acions. Our thoughts are with Mr Akbari's family."
Claims of Torture
Akbari had said he was tortured and given mind-altering drugs, and forced to confess to crimes he did not commit. Moreover, the Iranian state media had aired a "highly edited" video of him which activists described as coerced confessions. Akbari, in the video, was asked about the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh who was Iran's top nuclear scientist and shot dead in 2020. "They wanted to know about high-ranking officials depending on the major developments – for example the British agent asked me whether Fakhrizadeh could be involved in such and such projects, and I said why not," Akbari said.
The former Iranian politician was arrested more than three years ago on a state-sanctioned visit to Tehran and sentenced to death. But the Iranian government only let it be known in the last few days. Akbari's British-based family and the Foreign Office, had kept this case private as they believed that private pressure and pleas for clemency were the best route to his release. His family had been given false hope by the Iranian intelligence that his life would be spared.
A "Political" Death Sentence
Akbari's wife believes her husband was the victim of an internal power struggle inside Iran. A Tehran-based human rights lawyer Saeid Dehghan said the death sentence was political. He highlighted that it was unprecedented for such an execution in the case of a dual national. The activist also pointed out the timing of the execution, just when the IRGC was being placed on the UK terror list. Seyyed Mohammad Sadr, a former general director of Europe and USA in Iran's ministry of foreign affairs, also warned that Iran was on a dangerous course since it was perceived to have lost its neutrality in the Ukrainian war and had become an accomplice of the Russians.