Iran has executed Alireza Akbari, a British-Iranian national, the Justice. Department’s Mizan news agency reported on . Saturday after Iran’s former deputy defense. Minister was sentenced to death on charges of spying for Britain.
The UK, which had declared the case against . Alireza Akbari as motivated and called for his release. condemned the death penalty. Akbari, 61, was arrested in 2019.
British Prime Minister . Rishi Sunak called it “a callous and act by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of its own people”.
Mizan News Agency reported the execution without saying when it took place.
“Alireza Akbari, who was sentenced to death on charges of corruption in the world and extensive action against the internal and external security of the country by spying for the British government’s intelligence agencies … was executed,” it said.
The report accused Akbari, who was arrested in 2019, of taking $50,000 for espionage. He was a close associate of Ali Shamkhani, currently the secretary of Iran’s Supreme . National Security Council, who was the defense . Minister from 1997 to 2005, when Akbari was his deputy.
Late on Friday, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said . Iran must not follow through on the sentence – a call echoed by Washington.
The executions appear to put further strain on Iran’s long-strained relationship with the . West which has deteriorated since negotiations to revive its 2015 nuclear deal and . Tehran’s deadly crackdown on protesters last year.
In an audio recording obtained from . Akbari on Wednesday and broadcast by BBC Persian. He said he confessed to crimes he did not commit after extensive torture.
Iranian state media on .Thursday aired a video. It said Akbari played in the 2020 assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, killed in a 2020 attack outside . Tehran that authorities at the time blamed on Israel.
In the video, Akbari did not admit involvement in the killing but said a . British agent wanted information about Fakhrizadeh.
“They took away my will through more than 3,500 hours of torture. Psychedelic drugs and physical and mental stress procedures. They drove me to the brink of insanity… and forced me to give false confessions at gunpoint and death threats,” he said.
Iranian state media often publicize confessions of suspects in charged cases.
Reuters could not establish the authenticity of. The state media video and audio or when or where it was recorded.
Relations between London and . Tehran have soured in recent months as efforts to revive . Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, to which Britain is a party, have stalled.
The UK has also criticized the Islamic . Republic’s violent crackdown on anti-government protests sparked by. The death of Iranian-Kurdish teenager Mahsa Amini in September.
said Thursday that Britain was considering banning . Iran’s Revolutionary . Guards as a terrorist organization but had not reached a final decision.
Iran has issued dozens of executions as part of. Its crackdown on unrest, executing at least four people.