Iran sentences ex-official to death over alleged UK spying
The spying was uncovered when Iranian intelligence fed Akbari false information, Tasnim news agency reported
A former Iranian defence official has been sentenced to death after convicting him on charges of spying for Britain.
The judiciary said Ali Reza Akbari, who was deputy defence minister until 2001, was a “key spy” for British intelligence, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
The spying was uncovered when Iranian intelligence fed Akbari false information, Tasnim news agency reported.
It also reported that he had spied on past nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers.
Akbari had served as deputy defence minister under President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who had pushed for improved relations with the West, sources reported.
The family had been asked to go to prison for a final visit, his wife told BBC. They were also told that he had been moved to solitary confinement. Britain urged Iran to release Reza Akbari immediately.
For several years, Iran has been locked in a shadow war with the United States and Israel, marked by covert attacks on its disputed nuclear program.
The killing of Iran's top nuclear scientist in 2020, which Iran blamed on Israel, indicated foreign intelligence services had made major inroads.
Akbari, who ran a private think tank, has not been seen in public since 2019 when he was arrested.
Authorities have not released any details about his trial.
Those accused of espionage and other crimes related to national security are usually tried behind closed doors, where rights groups say they do not choose their lawyers and are not allowed to see the evidence against them.