Iran hands death sentence to former defense official accused of spying for UK

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(Bloomberg) – Iran has upheld the death penalty for a former deputy minister with dual British nationality who was arrested for spying for the UK, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

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Alireza Akbari, who served as deputy defense minister during the presidency of reformist Mohammad Khatami, was accused of being “one of the top agents” of Britain’s secret intelligence service and charged with espionage, Tasnim said, citing a statement from the Iranian Defense Ministry. Intelligence.

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British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called on Iran to halt Akbari’s execution and release him, according to a tweet, adding that it was “politically motivated by a barbaric regime”.

News of the verdict comes as Iran is condemned by rights groups and a host of countries for using the death penalty against people arrested during anti-government protests that have gripped the country since September.

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Akbari’s case is unrelated to the unrest. According to the TBEN, he was arrested sometime between March 2019 and February 2020.

(Updates with commentary from the British Foreign Secretary and context.)

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