Ex-Iranian deputy defense minister, British spy, sentenced to death
Iran finds a former deputy foreign minister to have been serving as a British spy and betrayed his country by giving London intelligence about Iran.
Center for Strategic Studies founder and former Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Alireza Akbari was sentenced on Wednesday to death for spying for the United Kingdom, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence said in a statement.
"One of the most important agents of the British intelligence service has been identified in the secret and strategic centers of Iran," Tehran said, as quoted by the Tasnim agency.
Akbari was the deputy defense minister during the tenure of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who served from 1997 to 2005.
"He was arrested after a long and multi-stage counterintelligence operation. Alireza Akbari became this spy for the British services," the intelligence ministry added.
Iranian intelligence services found that Akbari had access to some of the state's classified data, and he would habitually send them to the British intelligence services.
Tehran clarified that the former senior official was first recruited upon his reception of a visa at the UK embassy in Tehran, when he had talks with British intelligence agents. After this "conversation", during personal trips to Europe, Akbari became a "full member of the UK intelligence service," the Islamic Republic said.
"After the initiation of a criminal case against the accused and the issuance of an indictment, the case was taken to court and the hearing was held in the presence of the lawyer of the accused," the ministry underlined.
"Based on the evidence in the case, this person was sentenced to death for committing espionage in favor of the UK," the statement concluded.
In late October, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) issued a statement taking a jab at the role of foreign spy agencies, especially the CIA, in puppeteering the riots in Iran that took place in September.
"Numerous examples and undeniable references of the all-out role of the American terrorist regime in designing, implementing, and maintaining” the riots were exposed as part of “continuous and precise” intelligence monitoring in the past year, supported by documents, the statement read.
The statement pointed fingers at the CIA as it "played the main role” while being buddy-buddy with the espionage services of the UK, "Israel" and Saudi Arabia.
"The main perpetrators were the CIA, the British and Saudi intelligence services, the Israeli Mossad, and the intelligence services of other countries," it read. "the planning and the execution of the majority of the riots were carried out by the Mossad in collaboration with terrorist organizations."
"Washington used in the past few years a malicious network of collaborating organizations and invested in various social sectors to create networks to breach [Iran]," the statement underlined.
Meanwhile, the IRGC intelligence unit announced on Christmas the dismantling of a team of rioters in the Kerman Province who were linked with the United Kingdom.
In a statement, the public relations of Tharallah IRGC Base in Kerman province in southeast Iran confirmed that a group of rioters who were linked with the UK's intelligence services was identified and arrested.
"An organized network called Zagros which was directed by elements from the UK and formed a team of active anti-revolutionary elements inside and outside the country to lead plots to topple the government, especially during the recent riots, was identified and dealt a heavy blow in an operation," the IRGC statement read.
According to the IRGC, seven key elements of the team were arrested by the intelligence forces, and their technical and communicative means with the UK's intelligence services were cut.
The statement added that among the detained were double nationals who were trying to escape outside the country.