Iran executes British Iranian for spying

Tehran announced on Saturday the execution by hanging of an Iranian-British man sentenced to death for spying for British intelligence, angering and “disgusting” in London.

Former senior Iranian defense official Alireza Akbari, 61, was convicted of “corruption on Earth and undermining the internal and external security of the country for passing intelligence” to the United Kingdom, according to the agency. Iranian Judicial Authority Mizan Online.

His execution came three days after the announcement of the death sentence for this man presented as having been a “key spy” for the British “Secret intelligence service” (SIS), also known as MI6, because of “the importance of his position”.

In a tweet, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Saturday denounced a “ruthless and cowardly” condemnation, adding that his thoughts were with Alireza’s “friends and family”.

It is a “barbaric act” which “will not go unanswered”, reacted for his part the head of British diplomacy James Cleverly. London will “summon the Iranian charge d’affaires to tell him of our disgust,” he added.

Alireza Akbari was hanged just hours after the United States joined its British ally in calling on Iran not to carry out his execution.

– Confessions under duress-

US diplomat Vedant Patel said on Friday that Washington had been “deeply concerned” by reports that Akbari had been “drugged, tortured in police custody, interrogated for thousands of hours and coerced into making a false confession”.

On Twitter, Amnesty International called Saturday’s execution of Alireza Akbari a “heinous attack” on “the right to life”, the NGO calling on the British government to “fully investigate” the accusations of torture he allegedly alleged. been a victim.

Undated photo released by the Khabar online news agency of Alireza Akbari, a former senior Iranian defense official, during an interview in Tehran (Khabar Online/AFP/Archives – -)

According to official media in Iran, a country which does not recognize dual nationality for its nationals, Alireza Akbari has held senior positions in the security and defense apparatus.

This veteran of the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988) was notably Deputy Minister of Defense for Foreign Affairs, head of a unit in a ministerial research center and adviser to the commander of the Navy, the official Irna agency said, without giving dates.

In February 2019, the official newspaper of the Iranian government published an interview with Alireza Akbari presenting him as “former deputy minister of defense” under the presidency of Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005).

The defense minister then was Ali Shamkhani, current secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

– million dollars and video –

Akbari was arrested between March 2019 and March 2020, according to the Irna agency, while Mizan said he received payments of more than two million dollars for his services.

Iranian media released a video showing him explaining how he was approached by MI6, who interrogated him about nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was killed near Tehran in 2020 in an attack on his convoy. for which Iran has blamed Israel.

Iran regularly announces the arrest of agents suspected of working for foreign intelligence services. Four people accused of cooperating with the Israeli intelligence services were executed in early December.

Relations between Tehran and London have been weighed down in recent years by the arrest of several dual nationals.

Akbari’s execution comes as Iran is rocked by protests sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, after she was arrested for breaking the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. for women.

Iranian justice has confirmed the death sentence of 18 people in connection with the demonstrations, according to a count established by AFP from official announcements. Among them, four have already been executed, triggering an international outcry.

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