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BREAKING NEWS: Iran EXECUTES British man with dual-citizenship three years after jailing him over claims he was an MI6 spy

  • Alireza Akbari’s execution was reported in the early hours of Saturday morning
  • Iranian officials said he was an MI6 spy – regime critics say he was murdered
  • Akbari was jailed three-and-a-half years ago, and was married  

Iran has executed British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported on Saturday, after sentencing him to death on charges of spying for Britain.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Friday that Iran must not follow through with the execution of Akbari, a former Iranian deputy defence minister. Britain had described the death sentence as politically motivated and called for his immediate release.

‘Alireza Akbari, who was sentenced to death on charges of corruption on earth and extensive action against the country´s internal and external security through espionage for the British government’s intelligence service … was executed,’ Mizan said in a tweet.

It accused him of receiving 1,805,000 euros, 265,000 pounds, and $50,000 for spying.

In an audio recording broadcast by BBC Persian on Wednesday, Akbari said he had confessed to crimes he had not committed after extensive torture.

Iranian state media broadcast a video on Thursday that they said showed that Akbari played a role in the 2020 assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, killed in a 2020 attack outside Tehran which authorities blamed at the time on Israel.

In the video, Akbari did not confess to involvement in the assassination but said a British agent had asked for information about Fakhrizadeh.

Iran´s state media often airs purported confessions by suspects in politically charged cases.

Reuters could not establish the authenticity of the state media video and audio, or when or where they were recorded.

Ties between London and Tehran have deteriorated in recent months as efforts have stalled to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear pact, to which Britain is a party.

Britain has also been critical of the Islamic Republic’s violent crackdown on anti-government protests, sparked by the death in custody of a young Iranian-Kurdish woman in September.

Earlier this week, Mr Akbari’s wife Maryam said an official asked her to visit her husband in prison for a ‘final meeting’ before the state killing.

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence described the politician (pictured) as 'one of the most important agents of the British spy service'

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence described the politician (pictured) as ‘one of the most important agents of the British spy service’

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollar Ali Khamenei, pictured, was among officials who were responsible for green-lighting Akbari's execution

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollar Ali Khamenei, pictured, was among officials who were responsible for green-lighting Akbari’s execution

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He was transferred to solitary confinement, a sign that the execution was imminent after the death was sentenced issued by the Revolutionary Court. 

An audio message received by BBC Persia from Mr Akbari prior to his death claims he has been tortured and forced to confess on camera to crimes he did not commit.

He says he was forced to take psychedelic drugs and was interrogated for ten months.

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence described the politician as ‘one of the most important agents of the British spy service’.

He previously worked in Iran’s military and security institutions and has joint citizenship of Iran and Britain.

He then served as the international deputy of the Ministry of Defence under two-star general Ali Shamkhani, who served from 1997 to 2005.

Shamkhani is the current secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, a key decision-making body.

Some believe the charges against Mr Akbari may be politically motivated by rivals of Shamkhani. 

Iran claims that after Mr Akbari was identified as a spy, he was used by Tehran authorities to mislead Britain with ‘directed information’.

At one point, Mr Akbari was in Europe but he said he left Iran legally and was involved economically in several companies on the continent.

But Iran accused him of ‘running away’ and having a ‘front company’, and his financial lawyers have been accused of being intelligence agents. 

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