Intelligence officers at the Iranian consulate in Istanbul have reportedly schemed the assassination of an Iranian dissident, who was living in Turkey, last fall.
Exclusive: Iranian diplomats instigated killing of dissident in Istanbul, Turkish officials say https://t.co/rbJQfQfp8X— Reuters Iran (@ReutersIran) March 28, 2020
Masoud Molavi Vardanjani, an Iranian opposition figure and a former cyber intelligence officer, who worked for the Iranian government before defecting and leaving to Istanbul, was shot dead last November in one of the city's streets.
According to Reuters, the Turkish police investigation report revealed that the Iranian slain AI scientist "worked on cyber security at Iran’s Defense Ministry before changing his stance and becoming a vocal critic of the Iranian authorities".
Vardanjani's stances, expressed in August 2019 social media posts attacking Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, have reportedly encouraged two Iranian diplomats working at the Iranian consulate in Istanbul to instigate his killing, the report adds.
Masoud Molavi Vardanjan was shot dead in Istanbul in November & now Reuters says Iranian diplomats instigated killing of this cyber expert in Istanbul.— Masih Alinejad ?️ (@AlinejadMasih) March 28, 2020
Why when it comes to Iran western media don’t investigate such assassination like they did for Jamal Khashoggi? pic.twitter.com/c8BidyRxdR
Yet, Reuters says it couldn't verify those posts as they are no longer available online.
The Turkish sources told Reuters that Turkish and Iranian individuals, arrested in the aftermath of the shooting last November, told police officers "they had acted on orders from two intelligence officers at the Iranian consulate".
Reuters also reported that Vardanjani had received several warnings from the Iranian intelligence asking him to abstain from cooperating with any Turkish firms, pointing out potential "drone projects".
Masoud Molavi “had defied a warning from IRGC not to cooperate with Turkish firms on drone projects, without giving details. He had also approached the United States and European states to work for them,”https://t.co/pNv7KVXyz1— Ali Kheradpir (@AliKheradpir) March 28, 2020
As soon as Reuters's reports were made public, Iranian social media users circulated them and wondered whether the world will take a strong stance from the Iranian authorities similar to the one that followed the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Iranian agents at consulate in Turkey oversaw assassination of dissident Masoud Molavi Vardanjani in Istanbul on Nov. 14, 2019.— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) March 28, 2020
I ask UN investigator @AgnesCallamard: you tweet every day about Khashoggi, so why are you silent about this political murder?https://t.co/3NqFJgP7m8
Twitter users also wondered whether the increasingly stronger relations between Iran and Turkey will soften the Turkish stance on the case.
Iranian officials in Istanbul have not yet responded to calls made by Reuters to comment on the Turkish police revelations.
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