Iran hanged a former high-ranking defense official accused of spying for the British, the country’s state media reported Saturday.
Alireza Akbari, a 61-year-old British and Iranian citizen, was convicted in a closed-door trial. The date of his execution was not announced.
“This was a callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of their own people,” said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Akbari was deputy defense minister in Iran between 2000 and 2005. He was also known for helping to enforce a 1988 cease-fire that ended the vicious eight-year Iran-Iraq War.
According to Iranian authorities, Akbari also worked for MI6, the British intelligence agency, and gave U.K. officials information on at least 178 Iranian figures, CNN reported.
Iran blamed Akbari in part for the 2020 killing of the country’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, according to CNN. No evidence against Akbari was revealed to the public.
British foreign minister James Cleverly warned, “This will not stand unchallenged.” Iran’s prosecutor-general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, was sanctioned by the U.K. on Saturday night.
Akbari had no known connection to the ongoing protests that have roiled Iran since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody on Sept. 16. Iran has also executed four people connected to the movement in recent months.
With News Wire Services