A BRITISH man has been executed in Iran after being accused of spying for MI6.

Alireza Akbari, who holds a dual Iranian citizenship, was allegedly tortured to force a confession.


Alireza Akbari has been executed by Iran accused of spying MI6Credit: Reuters
Rishi Sunak blasted the 'barbaric' regime in Iran


Rishi Sunak blasted the ‘barbaric’ regime in IranCredit: PA

He was sentenced to death for “corruption on earth and harming the country’s internal and external security by passing on intelligence”.

Akbair – a former Iranian defence official – denied all charges against him.

He had been in prison since 2019.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “appalled” over the the execution by Tehran.

“This was a callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of their own people,” he said.

His execution comes as UK authorities are probing a shipment of uranium seized at Heathrow that is feared to have been linked to Iran.

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

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

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

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”.

“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,” reported Iranian news agency Mizan Online.

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

He also says 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”.

In February 2019, the official government newspaper Iran published an interview with Akbari, whom it identified as a “former deputy defence minister” during the 1997-2005 presidency of Mohammad Khatami.

In early December, Iran executed four people accused of working with Israeli intelligence, Mizan said at the time.

Iran hanged them four days after the Supreme Court upheld their death sentence for “their intelligence cooperation with the Zionist regime (Israel) and kidnapping”, Mizan reported.

Akbari’s execution comes as Iran has been rocked by protests sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini  was allegedly beaten to death by the morality police after she was detained for wearing an “improper” headscarf.

Iran’s judiciary has confirmed that 18 people have been sentenced to death in connection with the protests, according to a count compiled from official statements.

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Of these, four have been executed, sparking an international outcry.

Massive protests are taking place across Iran in one of the most sustained challenges to the regime.

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