London does not rule out further retaliatory measures against Iran after the execution of an Iranian-British accused of spying for British intelligence services, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced on Monday.
“Now we must, together with our allies, consider the next steps we will take to counter the growing threat from Iran. We are not limiting ourselves to actions already announced,” Cleverly told the House of Commons.
Despite pressing requests from parliamentarians, the minister however refused to indicate whether the United Kingdom intended to place the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, on the list of terrorist organizations. A spokesperson for First minister Rishi Sunak also told reporters earlier that the government was “looking into further actions” with its allies.
“You will have to be accountable”
After the execution on Saturday of Alireza Akbari, 61, a former official in the Iranian Ministry of Defense and an Iranian-British national, the United Kingdom responded by sanctioning the Attorney General of Iran Mohammad Jafar Montazeri. London also summoned the Iranian charge d’affaires in the country and “temporarily” recalled its ambassador to Tehran.
“Mr Akbari’s execution comes after decades of repression by a ruthless regime,” Cleverly said, assuring the UK’s support for the Iranian people who “demand rights and freedoms”. “We are witnessing the vengeful actions of a weakened and isolated regime, obsessed with the annihilation of its own people, weakened by its fear of losing power and ruining its reputation in the world,” he added.
“Our message to this regime is clear: the world is watching you and you will be held accountable, especially to the brave people of Iran,” Cleverly said. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani responded on Twitter that the execution of Alireza Akbari was the response of Tehran to “the action of the United Kingdom which violated the national security of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. He added that the reaction of London and D’NGO defense of human rights “shows their non-respect of the law and their illegality”.