British-Iranian dual national Alireza Akbari sentenced to death for ‘spying for MI6’

A British-Iranian dual national who previously served as Iran’s deputy defence minister is about to be executed on charges of spying for MI6, according to his family.

Maryam Akbari, the wife of dual British-Iranian citizen Alireza Akbari, said relatives had been summoned for a ‘final meeting’ and that he had also been transferred to solitary confinement, which often takes place shortly before an execution is carried out.

Mr Akbari, a former Iranian deputy defence minister, was reportedly arrested in 2019 and accused of being a spy for MI6 – a charge that he denies. 

Iranian state media reports have alleged that he was recruited by British security services after travelling to the UK embassy in Iran to collect a visa.

They also claimed he began collecting secret Iranian military intelligence and passed it to his British handlers.   

Iran has frequently jailed dual citizens on dubious spying charges, most infamously in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

In a recording obtained by BBC Persian, Mr Akbari said he had been tortured and forced to confess on camera to crimes which he did not commit. 

After his arrest, Iranian officials claimed Mr Akbari was a “super-spy…who had access to top secret military intelligence of the country.” 

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of Mr Akbari and have repeatedly raised his case with the Iranian authorities.

“Our priority is securing his immediate release and we have reiterated our request for urgent consular access.”

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