THE family of a British-Iranian dual national sentenced to death in Iran have told BBC Persian that authorities are preparing to execute him.
Alireza Akbari’s wife, Maryam, said the family had been asked to go to his prison for a “final visit” and that he had been moved to solitary confinement.
The ex-deputy Iranian defence minister was arrested in 2019 and convicted of spying for the UK, which he denied.
The UK urged Iran to halt the planned execution and immediately release him.
“This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has total disregard for human life,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted.
Earlier, a Foreign Office spokesperson told the BBC that it was supporting Mr Akbari’s family and had repeatedly raised his case with Iranian authorities.
It has requested urgent consular access, but Iran’s government does not recognise dual nationality for Iranians.
BBC Persian also broadcast an audio message on Wednesday from Mr Akbari in which he says he was tortured and forced to confess on camera to crimes he did not commit.
He says that he was living abroad a few years ago when he was invited to visit Iran at the request of a top Iranian diplomat who was involved in nuclear talks with world powers.
Once there, he adds, he was accused of obtaining top secret intelligence from the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, “in exchange for a bottle of perfume and a shirt”.
Mr Akbari served under Mr Shamkhani when the latter was defence minister during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who was in office for two terms between 1997 and 2005.