Alireza Akbari, a dual British-Iranian citizen and former Iranian official, has been sentenced to death in Iran for spying for the UK, according to Iranian justice-affiliated media Mizan on Wednesday.
Akbari was previously Iran’s deputy defense minister. and was the head of the Institute for Strategic Research, as well as a member of the military organization that implemented the United Nations resolution that ended the Iran-Iraq war, according to the pro-reform Iranian newspaper Shargh Daily.
According to the allegations in Mizan, Akbari “was arrested some time ago for spying against this country. On this basis and after the filing of an indictment against the accused, the file was transmitted to the court and hearings took place in the presence of the defendant’s lawyer and on the basis of the valid documents in the file. of that person he was sentenced to death for spying for the United Kingdom.”
The British government has called on Iran to suspend the execution and release Akbari. The BBC reported that Akbari was arrested in 2019 and served under Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist in office from 1997 to 2005.
Akbari appealed the decision and, after reviewing the case, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence, according to Mizan. The outlet claims Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has confirmed that Akbari was an undercover agent for Britain’s secret intelligence service MI6, alleging that he collected “important national information and provided it in a fully aware and informed manner.”
“This spy was in the process of getting a visa from the British Embassy by intelligence officers stationed there,” Mizan said.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has called for the execution to be halted. “Iran must stop the execution of the Anglo-Iranian national Alireza Akbari and release him immediately. This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has complete disregard for human life,” he said in a tweet.
A UK Foreign Office spokesperson told CNN it supports Akbari’s family “and has repeatedly raised their case with the Iranian authorities. Our priority is to obtain his immediate release and we have reiterated our request for urgent consular access.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has long been among the best executioners in the world.
The regime executed 314 people in 2021, 20% more than the previous year, rights group Amnesty International said in a May 2022 report. Many of them were linked to crimes related to the dope.
Last weekend, Iran executed two protesters accused of killing security personnel, sparking international outcry. Critics said the executions were the result of hasty sham trials.