The Mizan news agency of Iran’s Judiciary said the convict, who had been sentenced to death on charges of “corruption on earth” and “extensive activities against the country’s internal and external security” through espionage for the British government’s spy agency, was hanged on Saturday.
The news agency said Akbari, who was arrested in 2019, had received 1,805,000 euros, 265,000 pounds, and $50,000 for espionage activities for the United Kingdom.
Mizan said the trial of Akbari was held on January 11 with the presence of his lawyer and the death sentence was issued based on “valid documents.”
“Akbari collected the important information of the country on strategic issues in the field of domestic and foreign policy, regional, defense, missile, nuclear negotiations and economic issues related to sanctions and delivered it to British intelligence officers in a fully informed and targeted manner,” the Judiciary-affiliated news agency said.
“On this basis and after filing an indictment against the accused, the file was referred to court and hearings were held in the presence of the accused’s lawyer and based on the valid documents in the person’s file, he was sentenced to death for spying for the UK.”
Akbari’s death sentence was upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court after the 61-year-old requested an appeal.
In a statement on Wednesday, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry described Akbari, a former deputy defense minister, as “one of the most infiltrating agents of the spying service of the evil UK in the country’s sensitive and strategic centers,” noting that he was identified and arrested after a “long and multi-layered process” involving “counter-intelligence” and “deception operation.”
The “key spy,” according to the ministry, had sent the acquired information from sensitive centers to the enemy’s spy service on several occasions while being “completely aware” of his actions.
Akbari, as Mizan noted, confessed about his contacts with Britain and said he had been questioned by the British intelligence agency about Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated in a terrorist attack in November 2020.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly appealed for the spy’s release when reports of his planned execution emerged earlier in the week, saying in a tweet, “Iran must halt the execution of British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari and immediately release him.”
The United Kingdom has a long history of spying activities in Iran which can be traced back to the 1953 coup against the democratically-elected government of Mohammad Mosaddeq.
Iranian intelligence forces have arrested many foreign-linked spies in the past years who had been involved in acts of sabotage against Iranian people and facilities in the past decades.
The British government was also actively involved in the instigation of the recent foreign-backed riots in Iran after the death of a young woman of Kurdish descent.