Iranian authorities demand information on murder of Iranian-origin British businessman
ISTANBULIran has demanded information from Turkish officials on the murder of an Iranian-origin British businessman who was assassinated in Istanbul on April 29.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi said at a press briefing on May 1 that they were investigating the assassination of Saaed Karimian, 45, the owner of popular Farsi-language satellite television network GEM TV with Turkish authorities.
Karimian and his Kuwaiti business partner, Mohammed al Mohktari, were shot dead in Istanbul late on April 29 by masked individuals who opened fire on their vehicle. The assailants were wearing burqas, according to witnesses.
“We have no detailed information about the subject. We are investigating it through diplomatic sources. We have officially demanded an investigation into the case and are being provided information from Turkey. Our embassy in Ankara and the Foreign Ministry are also investigating the incident. We are waiting for new information from Turkey,” he said.
Meanwhile, Karimian’s wife said they had not received threats.
“He called me a short time before the murder to say that he remembered a rendezvous he had and that he would have dinner and smoke shisha after,” she said.
She added that there was no GPS device in his vehicle and the driver was off-duty.
Karimian met with al-Mokhtari, who was in the construction business in Kuwait, on the night of the assassination to exchange plans for their new construction projects, according to the police.
Police said the vehicle used in the assassination was stolen at Istanbul’s Başakşehir district in 2015, adding that its number plate was also stolen.
In addition, a gun was found in the vehicle, which was later found burnt out in Istanbul’s Kemerburgaz district.
Karimian had been threatened by the Iranian regime for the past three months, his relatives told the BBC on April 30.
They said the businessman was planning to leave Istanbul and move to London after receiving threats. Turkish authorities, however, said the killing may have been related to business and gangs, BBC correspondent Jiyar Gol said.
In 2016, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran tried Karimian in absentia and sentenced him to six years in jail on charges of “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the state.”
GEM TV is known for its entertainment satellite channels that dub foreign films and Western television programs into Farsi for Iranians. It also produces movies and TV series. But the satellite broadcaster’s programs are banned in the country.