On Saturday, January 14 Iran announced the execution of Alireza Akbari, a British-Iranian citizen and former deputy defense minister during reformist Mohamed Katami’s presidential term (1997-2005).
The Islamic republic convicted Akbar of spying for British intelligence services and decided to hang him only three days after announcing his sentence.
The family of the former deputy minister assures that the accusations are false and that the punishment was politically motivated.
United Kingdom and United States condemn execution
Both the British and U.S. governments tried to stop Akbari's execution and demand his release. However, Iran decided to ignore the appeals, sparking a strong rejection from the international community.
We echo the British government’s strong call for Iran not to proceed with this execution and to release Mr. Akbari immediately. The charges against Ali-Reza Akbari and his sentencing to execution were politically motivated. His execution would be unconscionable. pic.twitter.com/Q6u7rYOvnQ
— Vedant Patel (@StateDeputySpox) January 13, 2023
James Cleverly, the UK Foreign Secretary, reported that he temporarily recalled his ambassador for a "consultation" and reported that further action against the Iranian regime is under review.
We’re holding the regime to account. The UK has today:
- Sanctioned the Iranian Prosecutor General
- Summoned the Charge d’Affaires
- Temporarily recalled the UK Ambassador for consultation.
Our response to Iran is not limited to today. We are reviewing further action.
— James Cleverly🇬🇧 (@JamesCleverly) January 14, 2023
"This was a callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of their own people. My thoughts are with Alireza’s friends and family," said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Other countries condemn his execution
Countries such as Spain, France and Germany did not remain silent either and expressed their disagreement with the hanging of the former deputy minister.
"The Government of Spain strongly condemns the execution in Iran yesterday of Alireza Akbari, and has decided to summon the Iranian ambassador to Spain to express its rejection," reads the Twitter post on the country's Foreign Ministry account.
French President Emmanuel Macron called Akbari's death "despicable and barbaric" and expressed his concern for the long list of victims of the Iranian regime's repression.
"Solidarity with the UK. Solidarity with the Iranian people," Macron said.
The execution of Alireza Akbari is a despicable and barbaric act. His name adds to too long a list of victims of repression and the death penalty in Iran. Solidarity with the UK. Solidarity with the Iranian people.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 14, 2023
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called the execution of the former deputy minister a "new inhumane act of the Iranian regime.”