Execution of british-iranian man alireza akbari has been widely condemned. the uk prime minister rishi sunak, france, amnesty international, chatham house, iran, and the bbc persian all played a role in the event. akbari was arrested in 2019 and convicted of spying for the uk, which he denied. sunak said his execution was a “callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime”. france summoned iran’s top diplomat in paris, warning that tehran’s repeated violations of international law could not go unanswered. the uk imposed sanctions on iran’s prosecutor general, saying it would hold the regime to account “for its appalling human rights violations”.
Incident occurred in recent months, with ties between the uk and iran deteriorating since london imposed sanctions on iran’s morality police and other top security figures. iran has arrested dozens of iranians with dual nationality or foreign permanent residency in recent years, mostly on spying and national security charges. bbc persian broadcast an audio message from mr akbari in which he said he had been tortured and forced to confess on camera to crimes he did not commit. iran posted a video of mr akbari earlier this week showing what appeared to be forced confessions.
Incident happened as a result of the strained relationship between iran and the uk. iran showed “pitifully little respect” for human life, according to amnesty international. the uk has called for an investigation into claims mr akbari was tortured before his death. dr sanam vakil, iran expert at international affairs think tank chatham house, said mr akbari’s death would be used by the iranian regime to suggest a “heavy outside hand” was stoking the anti-government unrest. british-iranian citizens nazanin zaghari-ratcliffe and anoosheh ashoori were released and allowed to leave iran last year after the uk settled a longstanding debt owed to tehran. at least two other british-iranians remain in detention, including morad tahbaz, who also holds us citizenship.