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Iran executes British citizen Alireza Akbari, state media says

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Alireza Akbari, a British-Iranian citizen who previously served as a senior defense official in Tehran, has been executed, Iranian state media said on Saturday.

Mizan, an Iranian justice-linked news service, said he was hanged without providing details of the date of the execution. He had previously said that Akbari had been sentenced to death for carrying out espionage activities on behalf of MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence service. Iran has a habit of making unsubstantiated claims of espionage when making arrests.

Akbari had served as Iran’s reformist President Mohammad Khatami’s deputy defense minister in the 2000s. He has not been seen in public since 2019, according to the Associated Press. Iranian state media this week aired an alleged confession by Akbari, although the BBC’s Persian Service released a recording he made from prison in which he said he was threatened with death. if he didn’t confess.

Iran’s theocratic regime launched a brutal crackdown on protesters after a wave of anti-government protests began in September. Tehran has executed at least four people in connection with the protests. He made baseless claims that Western powers and Israel were behind the protests.

The British government did not immediately return a request for comment. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly condemned the death sentence earlier this week. The Foreign Office in London said it had lobbied Tehran for Akbari’s release, but had not been granted consular access. Iran does not recognize dual nationality.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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