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Iran Executes British-Iranian Alireza Akbari for Alleged ‘Spying’: What We Know

The former deputy Iranian minister of defence was arrested in 2019 and convicted for spying for the United Kingdom.

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What We Know
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British-Iranian dual national Alireza Akbari was executed, a few days after he was sentenced to death in Iran, reports said.

On Saturday, 14 January the Iranian judiciary’s official news outlet, Mizan, reported that Akbari had been hanged, without specifying the date of the killing. 

The charges: The former deputy Iranian minister of defence was arrested in 2019 and convicted for spying for the United Kingdom, a charge which he categorically denied. 

He was sentenced for "corruption on earth and harming the country's internal and external security by passing on intelligence", Mizan reported.

"The actions of the British spy service in this case have shown the value of the convict, the importance of his access and the enemy's trust in him," it added.

Who is Alireza Akbari? : A British Iranian, Alireza served as the deputy defence minister under Ali Shamkhani from 1997 to 2005, as a part of the administration of President Mohammad Khatami.

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He was a close ally of Shamkhani, who currently serves as the secretary of Iran’s National Security Council. 

Akbari had led the implementation of the United Nations resolution 598 that ended the Iran-Iraq war in 1988. 

Before the execution: Akbari’s family was asked to go to the prison where he was lodged for a “final visit” on Wednesday, after which his wife stated that he had been moved to solitary confinement. 

What has the UK said: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the execution a “callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime". 

Sunak said that the rulers of Iran had "no respect for the human rights of their own people" and added that his thoughts were with Alireza’s close friends and family. 

The timing: The news of Akbari’s execution came after Iran posted a video of Akbari earlier this week, where he purportedly appeared to be forced into confessions, just a few days after the country’s ministry of intelligence described him as "one of the most important agents of the British intelligence service in Iran".

His execution also comes as Iran continues to be shaken by protests following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, at the hands of Iran’s morality police.

Amini was arrested for allegedly violating the Islamic state’s strict dress code for women.

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Topics:  Execution   Iran Protests 

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