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Iran envoy grills UK daily over Saudi-linked TV station

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows a view to an office of the Guardian newspaper.

Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom has called on a leading newspaper to be more informative in its investigation into the funding of a newly-established anti-Iran TV station.

Hamid Baeidinejad said in a tweet early on Sunday that the Guardian was expected to shed more light on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s financial support for Iran International, a TV station that began operation in London last year with a clear agenda of creating propaganda against Iran.

Baeidinejad hinted that the informed source who revealed Saudi links to the anti-Iran TV could be Jamal Khashoggi, the prominent dissident journalist whose assassination in Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul last month sparked massive international outrage.

“Given its (Guardian’s) recent further revelations, it raises question of whether source was Khashoggi. With controversy surrounding it, ethics & professionalism dictate that Guardian should confirm if so,” said the ambassador, making reference to a Guardian report which came exactly on the day that Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The British newspaper, however, ran a second article on Saudi support for Iran International on October 31 which gave more details about how the Saudi royal court provided finances up to $250m to the TV station for a five-year period.

The author of both articles were the same person who said he himself received a guest fee after appearing in one of the shows on Iran International, implicitly suggesting that he decided not to continue cooperation with the TV channel after knowing its real agenda and sources of financing.

However, some media experts say the Guardian might have had ulterior motives in pursuing the case of Iran International and its Saudi links, arguing that the reports could be an attempt by the newspaper to receive hush money from the Saudi-backed TV to keep quiet about its suspicious and unhealthy agenda, especially at a time of heightened international concerns about Saudi Arabia’s malicious activities.

“Now that everyone is talking about bin Salman and his role in Khashoggi assassination, a newspaper like the Guardian could benefit from not speaking so much,” said an analyst familiar with the case.


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