The Iranian Intelligence Ministry Wednesday said in a statement through the state-run IRNA news agency that former Deputy Minister of Defence Alireza Akbari was arrested and charged with spying for Britain’s foreign intelligence service SIS, better known as MI6. The statement added that an “appropriate judicial authority” sentenced him to death.Officials vaguely laid out evidence allegedly confirming Akbari’s involvement with British intelligence officers and claimed that Akbari became a “key spy” for the SIS in while sering as deputy defence minister. However, in an audio file obtained by BBC Persian, Akbari said he was invited to Tehran by a prominent diplomat while living abroad. Akbari, a dual British-Iranian citizen, claims that upon arriving in Tehran, he was arrested for “obtaining information” for the UK from the Iranian National Security Council during the Hassan Rouhani administration.British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called for Akbari’s release and said the sentencing was a “politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has total disregard for human life.” Akbaris’ wife Maryam Samedi told BBC Persian that she was asked to see him for a “final meeting” before his execution and that Akbari had been moved to solitary confinement.

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