By Mohammad Homaeefar

The Guardian should not silence my voice on Iran, says Guardian journalist

February 24, 2020 - 18:42

TEHRAN — Saeed Kamali Dehghan, a Guardian journalist who used to cover Iran, has leveled strong criticism against the Guardian, saying the top British newspaper “should not silence my voice on Iran.”

“A decision by the Guardian to impose a defacto ban on me writing about Iran has led to my current severe mental health status,” Kamali Dehghan said at the beginning of a series of tweets on Monday.

Back in November 2018, Kamali Dehghan revealed that Jamal Khashoggi – who was murdered on October 2, 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul – lost his life because of disclosing Saudi Arabia's funding of an anti-Iran TV channel.

“I can confirm that Jamal Khashoggi was killed because of speaking to me on the phone from Istanbul in the morning on 26 September, revealing that London-based Iran International TV was funded by Mohammad bin Salman and Saud al-Qahtani,” he tweeted on November 9, 2018.

The journalist later suggested he felt threatened after his revelation.

“My request to all family and friends is not to contact me at this moment, except very trusted one. My mum knows how to contact me. I trust my mum and a few people here,” he said in another tweet.

“Over past year the Guardian has exacerbated my mental health status rather than helping me by insisting to keep a gag on me writing on Iran,” the Guardian journalist lamented.

However, the tweets were deleted soon afterwards. Then, there were no new articles by Kamali Dehghan on the Guardian for months. Finally, he resumed his activities in the daily on April 26, 2019, however, he has not covered Iran ever since. But now he says the Guardian has been insisting to “keep a gag on me writing on Iran.”

On Saturday, Kamali Dehghan disclosed for the first time after the Khashoggi revelation that he was in Nightingale hospital after experiencing serious mental health problems.

“I busy myself reading Quran and Hafez - both have replaced a long list of ‘friends’ who deserted me and abandoned me over the past two years when I needed them most. Quran & Hafez have proved loyal,” he said in a tweet.

On Sunday, he posted a photo of his medications, saying, “To be able to sleep, I have to take all these at night here at Nightingale hospital. Years of covering Iran for the Guardian finally took its toll.”

Back in October 2018, Kamali Dehghan revealed for the first time that Iran International, an anti-Iran television channel, was being funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director is a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He cited a source – which he would later claim to be Jamal Khashoggi – as saying that the Saudi prince is the force behind Iran International.

He said Khashoggi had told the Guardian that Saud al-Qahtani, who served as media adviser to Mohammad bin Salman and was among several senior officials removed in connection with Khashoggi’s murder, was involved in the funding of Iran International.

“It is money coming from the royal court,” he quoted Khashoggi as saying, referring to the Saudi crown prince.

None of my colleagues “cared about the agony I went through over the past two years and have been largely silent about the newspaper silencing me,” says Kamali Dehghan.
In his Monday Twitter thread, Kamali Dehghan said, “I’ll ask NUJ colleagues for support when I’m discharged from Nightingale Hospital.”

“Just to clarify, I am still a staff journalist with Guardian and an NUJ member but over past year the Guardian has exacerbated my mental health status rather than helping me by insisting to keep a gag on me writing on Iran. It’s time Guardian management reviewed its wrong policy.

I raise my voice because I care about the Guardian’s reputation on the eve of its 200 years history and I thank @KathViner for her support for me at all times but not everything at the Guardian is decided by the very good editor it has. In fact I am a big fan of Kath’s editorship.

I am particularly upset by a long list of colleagues in the newsroom whom I considered as family in my prolonged life in exile but except one or two none cared about the agony I went through over the past two years and have been largely silent about the newspaper silencing me.

The moment of truth has come for the Guardian, its management and its NUJ structure on the eve of its 200 years anniversary to see who stands up in ‘free London’ over silencing of a journalist and his voice on Iran at a very critical time in the Middle East.”

MH/PA


 

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