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Iran ignores foreign secretary’s warning and executes alleged British spy

The Tehran regime has stepped up executions as protests and dissent continue. <i>Photo: Getty</i>

The Tehran regime has stepped up executions as protests and dissent continue. Photo: Getty

Iran has gone ahead with the execution of an accused spy, British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari, after sentencing him to death on espionage charges.

The judiciary’s Mizan News Agency reported the execution on Saturday.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned 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 1.8 million euros ($A2.8 million), 265,000 pounds ($A465,000) and $US50,000 ($A71,683) for spying.

Relentlessly tortured

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 it said showed Akbari played a role in the 2020 assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Fakhrizadeh was 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.

-AAP

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