RIYADH (Web Desk) Jamal Khashoggi, killed on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, lost his life because of disclosing Saudi Arabia’s funding of an anti-Iran TV channel, a Guardian journalist has revealed.
“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 tweeted on Friday.
The British daily’s correspondent 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 cited a source close to the Saudi government as saying that Iran International had received an estimated $250 million from the Saudi royal court for its launch.
On Friday, Kamali Dehghan revealed that his source was Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was assassinated on the same day as the report was published.
The “premeditated” murder has been blamed on Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman also known as MBS.
The Guardian also reported that 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.
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.