Middle East

Iran executes dual British-Iranian citizen Alireza Akbari

By Sahar Akbarzai and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN

Alireza Akbari, a dual British-Iranian citizen and former Iranian official, has been executed, the Iranian judiciary-affiliated outlet Mizan reported on Saturday.

He was hanged for crimes including “corruption on earth,” according to tweets from Mizan, which did not specify when the execution took place.

Two tweets by the outlet Saturday accused Akbari of “extensive cooperation with British intelligence officers” for which he received “huge sums of money.”

Akbari’s death sentence was announced just days ago, on January 11, after he was convicted of spying for the United Kingdom. Akbari had denied the charges.

According to allegations published in Mizan on Wednesday, Akbari had been arrested “some time ago” for “spying against this country.”

“On this basis and after filing an indictment against the accused, the file was referred to court and hearings were held in the presence of the accused’s lawyer and based on the valid documents in this person’s file, he was sentenced to death for spying for the UK,” Mizan said.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak denounced the move.

“I am appalled by the execution of British-Iranian citizen Alireza Akbari in Iran,” Sunak wrote on Twitter.

“This was a callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of their own people. My thoughts are with Alireza’s friends and family.”

Echoing Sunak’s statements, the British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley called the execution a “barbaric act” that “deserves condemnation in the strongest possible terms.”

“This will not stand unchallenged. My thoughts are with Alireza Akbari’s family,” he wrote on Twitter.

Cleverley said his office would summon the Iranian Charge d’Affaires over the execution.

“This will not stand unchallenged and we will be summoning the Iranian Charge d’Affaires to make clear our disgust at Iran’s actions. Our thoughts are with Mr. Akbari’s family,” Cleverley said in a statement.

“The execution of British-Iranian Alireza Akbari is a barbaric act that deserves condemnation in the strongest possible terms. Through this politically motivated act, the Iranian regime has once again shown its callous disregard for human life.”

The UK government had urged Iran not to execute Akbari. The Foreign Office said it would continue to support his family.

Akbari previously served as Iran’s deputy defense minister and was the head of the Strategic Research Institute, as well as a member of the military organization that implemented the United Nations resolution that ended the Iran-Iraq war, according to Iranian pro-reform outlet Shargh Daily.

The BBC reported Akbari was arrested in 2019 and that he served under Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who was in office from 1997 to 2005.

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