Iran hangs former protection ministry official over spy declare

Iran executed Ali Reza Akbari, a twin Iranian-British nationwide who as soon as held a high-ranking place within the nation’s protection ministry.

In this photo released by KhabarOnline News Agency on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, Ali Reza Akbari speaks in an interview, Iran. Iran has executed Akbari after convicting him on charges of spying for Britain, media reported on Saturday. (Photo: AP File)

On this picture launched by KhabarOnline Information Company on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, Ali Reza Akbari speaks in an interview, Iran. Iran has executed Akbari after convicting him on prices of spying for Britain, media reported on Saturday. (Photograph: AP File)

By Related Press: Iran mentioned Saturday it had executed a twin Iranian-British nationwide who as soon as held a high-ranking place within the nation’s protection ministry regardless of worldwide warnings to halt his loss of life sentence, additional escalating tensions with the West amid the nationwide protests now shaking the Islamic Republic.

The hanging of Ali Reza Akbari, a detailed ally of prime safety official Ali Shamkhani, suggests an ongoing energy wrestle inside Iran’s theocracy because it struggles to comprise the demonstrations over the September loss of life of Mahsa Amini. It additionally harkened again to the mass purges of the army that instantly adopted Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Akbari’s hanging drew speedy anger from London.

READ: Iran carries out first execution over anti-hijab protests

“The execution of British-Iranian Ali Reza Akbari is a barbaric act that deserves condemnation within the strongest attainable phrases,” International Secretary James Cleverly mentioned in a press release. “By means of this politically motivated act, the Iranian regime has as soon as once more proven its callous disregard for human life.”

He added: “This won’t stand unchallenged.”

Iran’s Mizan information company, related to the nation’s judiciary, introduced Akbari’s hanging with out saying when it occurred. Nevertheless, there have been rumors he had been executed days earlier.

Iran has alleged, with out offering proof, that Akbari served as a supply for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, identified popularly as MI6. A prolonged assertion issued by Iran’s judiciary claimed Akbari obtained massive sums of cash, his British citizenship and different assist in London for offering info to the intelligence service.

Nevertheless, Iran lengthy has accused those that journey overseas or have Western ties of spying, typically utilizing them as bargaining chips in negotiations.

READ: Iran hangs 2 males accused of killing safety agent throughout anti-govt protests

Akbari, who ran a non-public suppose tank, is believed to have been arrested in 2019, however particulars of his case solely emerged in current weeks. These accused of espionage and different crimes associated to nationwide safety are often tried behind closed doorways, the place rights teams say they don’t select their very own legal professionals and will not be allowed to see proof in opposition to them.

Iranian state tv aired a extremely edited video of Akbari discussing the allegations, footage that resembled different claimed confessions that activists have described as coerced confessions.

The BBC Farsi-language service aired an audio message from Akbari on Wednesday, during which he described being tortured.

“Through the use of physiological and psychological strategies, they broke my will, drove me to insanity and compelled me to do no matter they needed,” Akbari mentioned within the audio. “By the drive of gun and loss of life threats they made me confess to false and corrupt claims.”

Iran has not commented on the torture claims. Nevertheless, the United Nations human rights chief has warned Iran in opposition to the “weaponization” of the loss of life penalty as a method to place down the protests.

READ: Iran reviewing decades-old necessary hijab legislation amid protests

On Friday, State Division deputy spokesman Vedant Patel additionally criticized Akbari’s pending execution.

“The fees in opposition to Ali Reza Akbari and his sentencing to execution have been politically motivated. His execution could be unconscionable,” he mentioned. “We’re significantly disturbed by the reviews that Mr. Akbari was drugged, tortured whereas in custody, interrogated for hundreds of hours, and compelled to make false confessions.”

He added: “Extra broadly, Iran’s practices of arbitrary and unjust detentions, compelled confessions and politically motivated executions are utterly unacceptable and should finish.”

Iran is without doubt one of the world’s prime executioners.

Iran’s authorities for months has been making an attempt to allege — with out providing proof — that overseas nations have fomented the unrest gripping the Islamic Republic because the loss of life of Amini in September after her detention by the morality police. Protesters say they’re indignant over the collapse of the economic system, heavy-handed policing and the entrenched energy of the nation’s Islamic clergy.

For a number of years, Iran has been locked in a shadow warfare with the USA and Israel, marked by covert assaults on its disputed nuclear program. The killing of Iran’s prime nuclear scientist in 2020, which Iran blamed on Israel, indicated overseas intelligence companies had made main inroads. Iran talked about that scientist in discussing Akbari’s case, although it’s unclear what present info, if any, he would have had on him.

Akbari had beforehand led the implementation of a 1988 cease-fire between Iran and Iraq following their devastating eight-year warfare, working carefully with U.N. observers. He served as a deputy protection minister underneath Shamkhani throughout reformist President Mohammad Khatami’s administration, probably additional making his credentials suspicious to hard-liners inside Iran’s theocracy.

READ: Massive win for protestors as Iran abolishes morality police after months-long outcry

As we speak, Shamkhani is the secretary of the Supreme Nationwide Safety Council of Iran, the nation’s prime safety physique which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei oversees. Akbari’s audio message aired by the BBC Persian included him saying he was accused of acquiring top-secret info from Shamkhani “in alternate for a bottle of fragrance and a shirt.” Nevertheless, it seems Shamkhani stays in his function.

The anti-government protests now shaking Iran are one of many largest challenges to the Islamic Republic because the 1979 revolution.

At the least 520 protesters have been killed and 19,400 folks have been arrested, in line with Human Rights Activists in Iran, a bunch that has been monitoring the unrest. Iranian authorities haven’t offered official figures on deaths or arrests.

Iran has executed 4 folks after convicting them of prices linked to the protests in equally criticized trials, together with assaults on safety forces.