Khashoggi revelation on anti-Iran channel led to his murder: Guardian

Tehran, Nov 9, IRNA - Jamal Khashoggi's revelation about the funds of Saudi-linked anti-Iranian channel led to his murder, senior Guardian journalist said.

'I can confirm that Jamal Khashoggi was killed because of speaking to me on the phone from Istanbul in the morning on 26 September, revealing that London-based Iran International TV was funded by Mohammad Bin Salman and Saud al-Qahtani,' Saeed Kamali Dehghan, a Guardian journalist wrote in a message posted on his twitter account.

A UK-based Iranian TV station is funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director is a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Guardian reported in an article.

The disclosures are likely to raise concerns about the editorial independence of Iran International, and comes at a time of growing fears about a number of Saudi-linked stations operating across London.

A source has told the Guardian that Prince Mohammed, who many believe is responsible for the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is the force behind Iran International. The station, which is operating out of Chiswick, has not denied claims that it receives its funding from the Saudi royal court.

The source claimed Saud al-Qahtani, the crown prince’s information tsar, who was among two senior officials removed in connection with the Khashoggi affair, was involved in the funding behind Iran International TV.

Earlier this summer, the station was criticized for airing extensive live coverage of a rally by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) terrorist organization that espouses regime change and has links to Saudi Arabia.

Ofcom has recently scrutinized Iran International for giving airtime to the spokesperson of a group that praised a terrorist attack in Iran last month.

Multiple sources claim Rashed, who is the former general manager of the Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya, was also involved in the operations and funding behind Iran International.

According to one source, Saudi Arabia gave $250m (£197m) in funding to help the launch of Iran International, which runs no commercial advertising. The source did not give a timeframe, but a scrutiny of its office’s rent and employee salaries points to an initial five-year period – $50m per year. Volant Media lost £26m in 2017, according to accounts filed on 4 October.

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