Turkish authorities have revealed that Saeed Karimian the Iranian founder of Farsi satellite television network, GEM TV has been shot dead in Istanbul along with a Kuwaiti business partner.
Saeed Karimian and an associate were driving in Istanbul on Saturday evening, when their vehicle was blocked by a jeep and shots were fired, according to the Turkish Dogan news agency, which added both men died. Istanbul police declined to comment on the shooting when contacted.
The motives for the murders are unclear for now but conspiracy theories have circulated due to Tehran's disdain for Karimian, who was sentenced to six years in prison in absentia last year by an Iranian court for "acting against national security" and "propaganda against the state".
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The conservative Fars news agency alleged Karimian had spent eight years at Ashraf before going to Switzerland in 1996.
Dubai-based GEM-TV offers Western programmes not available in Iran including U.S. game shows and Turkish soaps, which has been met with disdain by Tehran's ultra-conservative government.
Phone numbers for GEM rang unanswered Sunday noted the Daily Star Lebanon.
Karimian died on the scene, while his Kuwaiti partner succumbed to his injures later in hospital, Hurriyet said. It operates 24 satellite channels, including 21 Persian channels, as well as channels in Arabic, Azeri, and Kurdish, according to its website.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a Paris-based political group seen as the political wing of the PMOI, denounced the claims as a fabrication, accusing Iranian media of doctoring photographs. It blamed the Revolutionary Guard for the killings, noting they were carried out on the eve of a day honouring the Guard. His father was killed in Operation Mersad during the Iran-Iraq War, where he was a member of the Iranian opposition People's Mujahedin of Iran organization.