Alireza Akbari, a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Iran, was executed after receiving an Iranian death sentence.
On Wednesday, Mr. Akbari’s family was requested to pay him a “last visit” in the prison, and according to his wife, he had been sent to solitary confinement.
The former Iranian deputy defense minister was detained in 2019 and found guilty of spying for the UK despite his denials.
The killing, according to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, was “a brutal and cowardly crime, carried out by a barbaric administration.”
Mr. Sunak stated that the Iranian government “had no respect for the human rights of their own people” and that his sympathies were “with Alireza’s friends and family.”
James Cleverly, the UK’s foreign secretary, declared that the execution “would not go unopposed.”
The official news source for the Iranian court, Mizan, stated on Saturday that Alireza Akbari had been hung but did not provide a date for the execution.
The information was released after Iran’s intelligence ministry referred to the British-Iranian as “one of the most important agents of the British intelligence service in Iran” and after the nation earlier this week aired a video of Mr. Akbari that purported to reveal forced confessions.
However, Mr. Akbari said in an audio message that was aired on BBC Persian on Wednesday that he had been subjected to torture and compelled to confess to crimes he had not committed.
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The US had also joined calls for Iran to abstain from beheading Mr. Akbari. Vedant Patel, a US diplomat, criticized the accusations against the man as being “politically motivated” and stated that “his execution would be intolerable.”
Dr. Sanam Vakil, an Iran expert at the Chatham House think tank, predicted that the Iranian regime would use Mr. Akbari’s passing to imply that a “heavy outside hand” was igniting the unrest against the government and link the protests to the charge that Western countries were attempting to “destabilize the Islamic republic.”
She said on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, “Maintaining the narrative of the West being involved is a means to maintain unity among the political establishment.”
The UK Foreign Office has advocated for Mr. Akbari’s family and has brought up his case with Iranian officials numerous times. However, the Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality for Iranians, despite its urgent plea for consular access.