Former Deputy Defense Minister Elirezah Akbar, 61, was put to death in Iran on Saturday, Jan 14, accused of spying for British intelligence. A dual UK citizen, Akbar is the most senior security official Iran has ever executed. Among the many high posts he served in was assistant to the head of Iran’s National Security Council Ali Shamkhani from 1997 to 2005, when Mohammad Khatami was president. He also served in the Revolutionary Guards.
The gravest charge he is said to have confessed to was complicity in the assassination of the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Mohsen Fakhrizade on Nov. 27, 2020. Since Tehran has accused the Israeli Mossad spy agency of the deed, the implication is that the Akbar also collaborated with Israel – either knowingly or in the belief that he was working with British intelligence to cut short Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapon and was unaware of any Israel hand in the act.
Responding to the execution, the UK on Saturday imposed sanctions on Iran’s prosecutor general, with no mention of the UK spy charge against him.
Whether Akbar paid the price for serving the Brits or the Israelis – or both – is a conundrum that may never be resolved.