Iran Dismisses Ali Shamkhani, Top National Security Official

Iran on Monday removed its top national security official, one of the most powerful men in the country, after he came under scrutiny over his close ties with a high-ranking British spy.

The security official, Ali Shamkhani, had been secretary of the Supreme National Council, which shapes Iranian security and foreign policy, for a decade, and before that worked at the Defense Ministry. The spy, Alireza Akbari, a dual British citizen, was Mr. Shamkhani’s deputy at the ministry and then worked as an adviser to him on the council.

In 2019, as suspicions about Mr. Akbari arose, Mr. Shamkhani lured him back to Iran from Britain, where he had moved, leading to his arrest and execution in January.

Mr. Shamkhani appeared to have not only survived but thrived after the scandal until his sudden ouster on Monday. In March, he spearheaded Iran’s negotiations to restore ties with Saudi Arabia, with the mediation of China, and he also acted as a diplomat traveling to neighboring Arab countries…

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This article was written by Farnaz Fassihi and originally published on