The execution of an Iranian-British in Iran increases the tension between London and Tehran

Alireza Akbari, one of Iran’s former military defense officials, was executed in Iran for ” spying “, Saturday, January 14. This Iranian, who also has British nationality, was deputy to Ali Shamkhani, minister of defense in the government of reformist Mohammad Khatami between 1997 and 2001. The 61-year-old Iranian-British then served as adviser to Mr. Shamkhani when this one became secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, in 2013. News of his death sentence was not made public until days before his hanging. In response to his execution, London announced sanctions against Iranian Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri.

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Alireza Akbari was first arrested in 2007 and released on bail. He then left Iran for the UK but was arrested in 2019, during a trip to Tehran. In a recent audio recording, broadcast before his hanging by the BBC Persian channel, he explained that he was forced to make a “confession” by “physical and psychological torture” and that his sentence had been dictated by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. “I was subjected to 3,500 hours of interrogation and torture, and forced to take psychedelic drugs, and it destroyed my will (…). I was forced, under the threat of weapons and the threat of death, to make a false confession”he explains in this clandestine recording.

In a January 11 statement, Iran’s intelligence ministry referred to Alireza Akbari as “one of the most important infiltrators of the vicious British spy service” within “sensitive and strategic Iranian centers”. In the recording broadcast by the BBC Persian, the convict explains that the Iranian secret services seek to ” get revenge “ of the United Kingdom using his British nationality.

Possible political score settling

Some analysts raise the possibility, which is currently difficult to verify, of a settling of accounts between different political factions in Iran, given Alireza Akbari’s proximity to the influential Ali Shamkhani, still today secretary of the Supreme Council. of national security. Sunday January 15, the ultra-conservative daily Kayhan asked the authorities to make public all Alireza Akbari’s contacts in the country. The media close to the Revolutionary Guards Saberin News welcomed the rumor of Ali Shamkhani’s dismissal.

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