February 1, 2023

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Rishi Sunak condemns ‘callous and cowardly’ execution of British-Iranian Alireza Akbari

Rishi Sunak has condemned the “callous and cowardly” execution of a British-Iranian dual national in Iran.

Alireza Akbari, who once served in Iran’s defence ministry, had been accused of spying, an allegation he denied. Iran’s Mizan news agency, associated with the country’s judiciary, said he had been hanged.

Mr Sunak, writing on Twitter on Saturday morning said: “I am appalled by the execution of British-Iranian citizen Alireza Akbari in Iran.

Former Iranian deputy of defence minister, British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari

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Former Iranian deputy of defence minister, British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari


“This was a callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of their own people,” the Prime Minister continued. “My thoughts are with Alireza’s friends and family.”

Mr Akbari was arrested in 2019 and accused of espionage for MI6 related to past nuclear talks between Iran and western nations.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly had appealed on Friday to Iranian authorities not to proceed.

“Iran must halt the execution of British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari and immediately release him,” Mr Cleverly tweeted this week. “This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has total disregard for human life.”

On Saturday morning, the MP said the killing would not go “unchallenged”.

Mr Akbari was arrested in 2019

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Mr Akbari was arrested in 2019

(Khabar Online/AFP via Getty Imag)

“Iran has executed a British national,” he tweeted. “This barbaric act deserves condemnation in the strongest possible terms. This will not stand unchallenged. My thoughts are with Alireza Akbari’s family.”

A statement from the Iranian Students’ News Agency announced the death.

“The sentence of Alireza Akbari, the son of Ali with dual Iranian-British citizenship, who was sentenced to death on charges of corruption in the land and widespread action against the country’s internal and external security through espionage for the intelligence apparatus of the British government, was executed,” it said.

Earlier this week, Mr Akbari’s wife Maryam told BBC Persian she was invited to a “final meeting” at the prison where he was put in solitary confinement.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned the execution

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned the execution

(PA Wire)

Commons Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Alicia Kearns previously accused the Iranians of seeking to “weaponise” dual nationals as anti-government protests convulse the country.

“It is another horrifying example of the Iranian regime – because they feel they are cornered, because there is such significant pressure from sanctions – weaponising British nationals and industrialising hostage-taking,” she told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

She said Mr Akbari may have been singled out by the regime because of his closeness to a leading Iranian moderate who has led calls for dialogue and discussion.

Tehran has detained a number of dual and foreign nationals in recent years, including British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was held in 2016 and released last year.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has been contacted for comment.

More follows….

Original News : https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/alireza-akbari-execution-iran-sunak-b2262095.html

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