UK urged to stop pussyfooting and kick out all Iranian diplomats

Rishi Sunak warns of increasing threat from Iran

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A leading security expert has called on Rishi Sunak and his cabinet to stop “pussyfooting” and completely sever ties with Iran. This follows the execution of a British-Iranian dual national Alireza Akbari, who was sentenced to death in Iran. Anthony Glees, from the University of Buckingham, told LBC that the Foreign Office had been “soft-pedalling” and “appeasing” Iran for too long.

In a passionate plea for action from the British Government, Mr Glees said the execution “is yet another repugnant reminder of what the Ayatollahs have done to Iran since 1979”.

He continued: “The Ayatollahs are trying to blame Britain for the dissident movement in Iran.

“We are being drawn in by a member of the ‘axis of evil,’ and we should respond in the fullest possible terms and that means we need to kick out Iranian diplomats.

“The Foreign Office is soft-pedalling as it always has, and it doesn’t do any good to keep chatting to the Iranians. It is appeasement.”

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Mr Glees urged swift and severe action from Britain, adding: “This is a vile regime and it should be called out.

“We have been pussyfooting around the Ayatollahs since 1979.”

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns also told LBC that the Iranian ambassador must be expelled from the UK immediately.

She called the leaders in Tehran a “terrorist regime” and said the hanging of Mr Akhbari proved that “the regime is cornered and acting out”.

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The Tory MP said: “The Iranian Government is absolutely desperate to portray this organic uprising against the regime as something that is perpetrated by hostile states.

“It also shows that they are nervous about their position in power.”

Mr Akbari, an ex-deputy Iranian defence minister, was arrested in 2019 and convicted of spying for the UK, which he denied.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the execution was a “callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime”.

Mr Sunak said Iran’s rulers had “no respect for the human rights of their own people,” adding that his thoughts were “with Alireza’s friends and family”.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the execution would “not stand unchallenged”.

Earlier this week, the UK had urged Iran to halt the execution and immediately release him.

Mr Akbari’s wife Maryam told BBC Persian that she was invited to a “final meeting” at the prison where he was put in solitary confinement.

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