UK to Iran: You Will Be Held To Account for Executing British National
The United Kingdom has warned Iran that it “will be held to account” for executing an Iranian-British national whom the regime found guilty of spying for British intelligence.
Iran announced on Saturday that it had hanged Alireza Akbari, 61, who had served as its deputy defense minister between 2000 and 2005, during the term of reformist president Mohammad Khatami. He fled to the UK in 2008 and was arrested in 2019 during a visit to Iran. Both Akbari and his family said that he had been tortured into confessing to the crimes.
“Our message to that regime is clear: the world is watching you and you will be held to account, particularly by the brave Iranian people, so many of whom you are oppressing and killing,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the the House of Commons on Monday. “[Akbari’s] execution was the cowardly and shameful act of a leadership which thinks nothing of using the death penalty as a political tool to silence dissent and settle internal scores.”
Following the killing, Britain recalled its ambassador to Iran, summoned the highest-ranking Iranian diplomat in London and imposed sanctions on Iran’s prosecutor general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri.
Cleverly declined to outline further steps against Iran, but told MPs that, “We do not limit ourselves to the steps that I have already announced.”
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also said that the UK is “reviewing further action with our international partners.”