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Iran executes Alireza Akbari, ex-official accused of spying

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Relatives of Mr Akbari were summoned to Evin prison on Monday for a final meeting with him, Ms Samadi said. He saw his mother, sister and daughter, said his goodbyes and gave his last wishes, she said. He also had a final phone conversation with his wife, who is in London.

The execution is likely to escalate tensions between Iran and the West. Relations, already strained amid the long suspension of nuclear talks, have deteriorated due to Iran’s violent crackdown and execution of protesters and its continued delivery of suicide drones to Russia for the war in Ukraine.

In recent years, Iran has seen high-profile defections and arrests of senior officials accused of spying for foreign countries, but the execution of a senior official and a prominent member of the guards is highly unusual. . In June, The New York Times reported that a senior Revolutionary Guards commander, Brig. General Ali Nasiri, had been secretly arrested on allegations of spying for Israel.

Mr Akbari told The Times in a 2003 interview that he opposed the nuclear deal with the West on the grounds that Iran must not falter in its nuclear program because that would make its security program a target.

“If we back down every time they pressure us, they will continue the pressure and push us back further until we are completely unarmed and defenceless,” Mr Akbari said in the interview.

Mr. Akbari’s brother said he later became the Defense Ministry’s liaison with embassies in Iran, especially Western embassies, responsible for convincing the ambassadors that the Iran nuclear deal was at peaceful energy purposes.

The execution places Britain in an unusual position. He is to confront Iran over the execution of its citizen, a former senior Guardsman, even as Britain’s parliament voted unanimously on Thursday to back the government’s impending plan to list the Guards as a terrorist organization . Britain has accused the guards of plotting to murder several British citizens over the past year.

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