Thursday 26 April 2018

TV mogul shot dead for broadcasting into Iran

A view of a burnt jeep abandoned by the suspects Photo: DHA/Handout via Reuters TV
A view of a burnt jeep abandoned by the suspects Photo: DHA/Handout via Reuters TV

Jon Gambrel

The founder of a TV network broadcasting into Iran has been shot dead in Istanbul alongside a Kuwaiti business partner.

He was shot just months after being convicted of spreading "propaganda" against the Tehran government.

Gunmen opened fire on Gem TV boss Saeed Karimian, who is of British-Iranian nationality, after blocking his car in Istanbul.

Gem TV, which has offices in Dubai, Turkey and elsewhere, rebroadcasts Turkish soap operas and other entertainment shows dubbed into Farsi.

While satellite television is popular in Iran, owning a satellite dish is illegal.

Police and security forces occasionally smash dishes and seize receivers as authorities routinely denounce the Western pop culture shown on satellite channels as decadent and un-Islamic.

Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency, considered to be close to the country's hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, described Gem as an opposition network and said that Mr Karimian had been given a prison sentence for "propaganda".

Tasnim also reported that both Mr Karimian and his father had ties to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq. That Iranian exile group, known by the initials MEK, sided with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The MEK has denied the Iranian claims that Mr Karimian and his father had links to the group. It blamed the Revolutionary Guard for the killings, noting they were carried out on the eve of a day honouring the Guard.

Irish Independent

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