Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed on October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, might have lost his life for disclosing Riyadh’s funding of an anti-Iran UK-based TV channel, the British daily Guardian suggests.
In a report on Oct. 2, the Guardian cited a source close to the Saudi government as saying that the anti-Iran London-based TV channel Iran International received an estimated $250m (£192m) from the Saudi royal court each year.
Now the Guardian correspondent, in a Friday tweet, has revealed that his source was Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was assassinated on the same day as the report was published in a premeditated murder in Turkey blamed on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also known as MBS.
A tweet message by Guardian reporter Saeed Kamali Dehghani regarding Khashoggi’s murder scheme
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. Read this: https://t.co/nlutbjywi3
— Saeed Kamali Dehghan (@SaeedKD) November 9, 2018
The Guardian correspondent, Saeid Kamali Dehghan, later posted tweets that suggested he felt threats to his safety.
“My request to all family and friends is not to contact me at this moment, except very trusted one. My mum knows how to contact me. I trust my mum and a few people here,” he said in the tweet. However, he later deleted all his tweets regarding the case.
Iran’s Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad praised the Guardian correspondent in a tweet and warned about the “risks” which he may encounter.
“Mr. Kamali Dehghan, the Guardian correspondent, confirmed in a brave step that Khashoggi had revealed before his death to him information about the establishment of the Persian-language ‘Iran International’ network by Saudi authorities,” he wrote.
“The relevant authorities are aware of possible risks to Mr. Kamali and the embassy is also in contact with them,” Baeidinejad added.
Last month, the Guardian also reported that the Iran International was being funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director was a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to bin Salman.
The source told the Guardian that Saud al-Qahtani, who served as media adviser to MBS and was among several senior officials removed in connection with Khashoggi’s murder, was involved in the funding of Iran International.
“It is money coming from the royal court,” the source – now revealed to be Khashoggi – said, when speaking about the Saudi crown prince.
Earlier this summer, the Iran International came under fire for praising a terrorist attack in Iran’s Ahvaz and broadcasting live coverage of a rally by the anti-Iran terrorist group Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO).
At the time, the Guardian took note of Press TV’s complaint that the Western and Saudi media were refraining from terming the deadly attack as a terrorist act despite the large number of civilian casualties in the incident.
Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of bin Salman, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, but never came back.
The Saudi kingdom, after denying the murder for several days, finally admitted that Khashoggi had been murdered in the consulate during an interrogation by rogue operatives that had gone wrong after diplomatic pressure grew tremendously on Riyadh to give an account on the mysterious fate of its national.
However, Saudi Arabia said that it did not know the whereabouts of the body, which is widely believed to have been dismembered.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later announced the assassination had been ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.