Why’d The New York Times Unexpectedly Vindicate Iran’s Execution Of A Top UK Spy?
Implying that Russia has so deeply penetrated Western spy agencies that it was able to identify the infamous British mole that Iranian intelligence had been hunting for over a decade can be exploited to “justify” the expulsion of more diplomats and/or some other dramatic crackdown.
The New York Times (NYT) isn’t known for being friendly towards Iran, having consistently functioned as one of the US” most reliable information warfare outlets against the Islamic Republic. That’s why nobody could have expected it to vindicate Iran’s execution of former Deputy Defense Minister Alireza Akbari, who was a dual UK national and also one of its top spies anywhere in the world. He was hung in January after several years of detainment, which prompted strong criticism from the West at the time.
They exploited that event to revive their long-running information warfare campaign alleging that Iran arbitrarily detains foreign nationals on false espionage pretexts in order to use them as political hostages, with some being executed either due to paranoia or for domestic political purposes. Not once did any Western official or outlet hitherto extend credence to Tehran’s claims that Akbari was responsible for leaking information about its nuclear programs until the NYT’s bombshell report.
Titled “Iranian Insider and British Spy: How a Double Life Ended on the Gallows”, it was published on Monday and extensively details Akbari’s role as one of the UK’s top spies anywhere in the world as informed from interviews with numerous diplomatic and security sources across several countries. According to the NYT, it was none other than Russia which supposedly confirmed Akbari’s true identity as the infamous British mole that Iranian intelligence had been hunting for over a decade.
This tidbit might explain why that anti-Iranian information warfare outlet unexpectedly vindicated the Islamic Republic’s execution of this former high-level official, which on the surface contradicted the West’s soft power interests by proving that Tehran had the right to punish this bonafide spy. It could very well have been the case that the NYT calculated in collusion with its US intelligence partners that subtly fearmongering about Russian infiltration of Western spy agencies is more to their benefit right now.
After all, the Western public already has a generally negative view of Iran after being exposed to years of propaganda about it so there really isn’t any tangible benefit in reviving this information warfare campaign. By contrast, implying that Russia has so deeply penetrated Western spy agencies that it was able to identify the infamous British mole that Iranian intelligence had been hunting for over a decade can be exploited to “justify” the expulsion of more diplomats and/or some other dramatic crackdown.
Nothing else cogently explains why the NYT would go against its own de facto New Cold War bloc’s soft power interests by vindicating Iran’s execution of Akbari and thus discrediting those Western officials and outlets that condemned it except this anti-Russian soft power trade-off. In exchange for rubbishing the latest anti-Iranian narrative, the NYT was able to subtly advance an anti-Russian agenda that’s more politically meaningful in the present under the cover of doing an unexpected act of journalistic service.