Iran executed a former top defense official and dual national, Alireza Akbari, on Saturday. He was accused of spying for the United Kingdom’s intelligence agency, as per reports from the judiciary.
The execution was carried out after Akbari was sentenced to death for “corruption on earth and harming the country’s internal and external security by passing on intelligence,” according to the judicial news agency Mizan Online. The British government has condemned the execution as politically motivated.
Akbari held several high-ranking positions in Iran’s defense establishment, including “deputy minister of defense for foreign affairs” and a role in the “secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council.” He was also an “advisor to the commander of the navy” as well as “heading a division at the defense ministry’s research center.”
In a video released by Iranian media, Akbari was seen discussing his contacts with the UK and mentioned being questioned about Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated in November 2020 in an attack that Iran blames on Israel.
Akbari was arrested sometime between March 2019 and March 2020, according to state media. The Iranian intelligence ministry claimed that Akbari became a “key spy” for the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, due to “the importance of his position.”