Following the hanging of former Deputy Defense Minister Alireza Akbari, the UK has sanctioned Iran’s Attorney General. Tehran for its part summoned the British ambassador.
An Iranian-British man has been executed by hanging after being sentenced to death for spying for British intelligence services, the Iranian Judicial Authority Agency announced on Saturday (January 14th). A former senior Iranian defense official, Alireza Akbari, 61, was convicted of “corruption on Earth and for undermining the internal and external security of the country for having transmitted intelligencein the UK, according to Mizan Online.
His execution took place three days after the announcement by the Iranian justice of the death sentence of this man, presented as having been a “key spy” for the “secret intelligence service(SIS), also known as MI6, due to “the importance of his position“.
This announcement had angered London, which demanded the non-execution of the sentence and the release “immediateby Alireza Akbari. “This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has complete disregard for human life“, denounced the head of British diplomacy James Cleverly.
Cascading accusations and threats
The head of diplomacy warned that this “barbaric act will not go unansweredand announced that London was going tosummon the Iranian charge d’affaires“. In the aftermath, the Attorney General of Iran, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was placed under sanctions for “expressing disgust” to him British, they added.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, meanwhile, denounced on Twitter a condemnation “ruthless and cowardly“.
For its part, Amnesty International condemned a “heinous attackof Iran vs.the right to life“, calling on the British government to “fully investigateon the accusations of torture of which he would have been the victim. Similarly, France expressed its “outrage” to the Chargé d’Affaires of the Iranian Embassy in Paris. The Quai d’Orsay warned that “the repeated violations of international law by Iran cannot go unanswered, particularly with regard to the treatment of foreign nationals that this country arbitrarily detains”.
Iran was quick to respond, summoning the UK ambassador to Tehran. “In response to Britain’s unconventional interventions, that country’s ambassador to Tehran“, Simon Shercliff, “was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs“. “UK government must be held responsible for making unconventional contact“having represented”an attack on the national security of the Islamic Republic of Iran»
According to official Iranian media, 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, said the Irna agency, without giving dates.
In February 2019, the official government gazette of Iran published an interview with Alireza Akbari presenting him as “former Deputy Minister of Defenseunder the presidency of Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005). The Minister of Defense at the time was Ali Shamkhani, current Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.
Alireza 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 apparently showing him chatting with people said to be British contacts. He would have been questioned in particular about the nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, killed near Tehran in 2020 during an attack against his convoy for which Iran blamed Israel.
Regular arrests of agents
Iran regularly announces the arrest of agents suspected of working for foreign intelligence services, including Israel. Relations between Tehran and London have been weighed down in recent years by the arrest of several dual nationals. In early December, Iran executed four people accused of cooperating with Israeli intelligence services.
Akbari’s execution comes as Iran has been 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 Republic’s strict dress code. Islamic 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.