Iran on Saturday executed former top defence official and dual British national, Alireza Akbari, who was accused of spying for United Kingdom intelligence, the judiciary reported.

Akbari was executed after being sentenced to death for “corruption on earth and harming the country’s internal and external security by passing on intelligence”, the judicial news agency Mizan Online reported.

“The actions of the British spy service in this case have shown the value of the convict, the importance of his access and the enemy’s trust in him,” it added.

Britain has demanded that Tehran halt what foreign minister James Cleverly has called a “politically motivated” execution.

On Thursday, state media had reported that 61-year-old Akbari had held high positions in the country’s defence establishment.

His posts included “deputy minister of defence for foreign affairs” and a position in the “secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council.”

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Akbari had also been an “advisor to the commander of the navy” as well as “heading a division at the defence ministry’s research centre”.

In a video published by Iranian media, Akbari was seen apparently talking about his contacts with Britain.

He also said he was questioned by the British about Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, assassinated in November 2020 in an attack that Tehran blames on arch-foe Israel.

Akbari, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war that raged from 1980-1988, was arrested sometime between March 2019 and March 2020, state media said.

Mizan, citing a statement from Iran’s intelligence ministry, had said earlier this week that Akbari became a “key spy” for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, more commonly known as MI6, due to “the importance of his position”.

AFP

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