Guardian reporter removed from Iran beat due to unfounded Khashoggi claim

Human rights activists and friends of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold his pictures during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 8, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/MURAD SEZER/FILE PHOTO)
Human rights activists and friends of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold his pictures during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 8, 2018
The British newspaper The Guardian has reassigned its Iran reporter Saeed Kamali Dehghan after 10 years of covering the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iranian dissidents told The Jerusalem Post that Kamali Dehghan may have been reassigned for making an unfounded claim that the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered due to an interview that Kamali Dehghan conducted with him. 
“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 tweeted on Monday. "The Guardian should not silence my voice on Iran. I’ll ask NUJ colleagues for support when I’m discharged from Nightingale Hospital."
The NUJ, or the National Union of Journalists, is a trade union representing journalists in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
Kamali Dehghan said that, “My employer, The Guardian newspaper, in response to my criticism of them silencing me on Iran, have disabled my Guardian email account. I can confirm no editors or managers even called or visited me since I’ve got hospitalized, even before my criticism.”
He tweeted a screenshot showing that his Guardian email account has been “disabled by the domain admin.”
A spokesperson for The Guardian wrote The Jerusalem Post by email: “We will not be providing any comment.”
In a tweet on Tuesday, Kamali Dehghan wrote: “Am I a spy, a liar, psychotic, schizophrenic, mentally disturbed, an attention seeker, a loser, or am I just a journalist silenced by his employer and intelligence services? You decide. This is your Dreyfus affair moment in some ways, this time with a Muslim Iranian journalist. “
On Monday, Kamali Dehghan tweeted a link to an Iranian regime-controlled news outlet The Tehran Times stating that, “The Guardian should not silence my voice on Iran.”
The Iranian dissident journalist and former political prisoner Kaveh Taheri tweeted on Tuesday in response to The Tehran Times article, "[IRI-run @TTimesOnline comes out in support of former @guardian biased correspondent Saeed Kamali Dehghan, who previously worked for IRGC-run Fars News." The IRGC is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, a US-sanctioned foreign terrorist organization.
The Guardian’s website notes that "Saeed Kamali Dehghan is a Guardian staff journalist, and was previously Iran correspondent for 10 years."
His last article was published on February 19 and was titled: “The world is failing to ensure children have a 'liveable planet', report finds.”
Numerous Post press queries to Kamali Dehghan were not returned. The Post also contacted Kamali Dehghan on Twitter.
Iranian dissidents in the US and in Britain told the Post that Kamali Dehghan may have been removed from reporting on Iran because he contended, without evidence, that he conducted a conversation with the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi.
The Saudi government admitted that it murdered Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate in 2018. The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was accused of ordering the assassination. Bin Salman vehemently denied that he ordered the murder.
The British-Iranian journalist Potkin Azarmehr told the Post that, “Finally the Guardian too noticed all is not well with SKD [Saeed Kamali Dehghan], who started making strange claims about JK [Jamal Khashoggi] having met him before being murdered. SKD was an apologist for the Islamic Republic and his reports on Iran in the Guardian often promoted the Rouhani faction with the usual good cop/bad cop scenario.”
Azarmehr added that, ”His disinformation about medicine shortage in Iran being the result of US sanctions was copy/pasted by other media outlets without any research and became one of those Western media myths.”
Kamali Dehghan wrote in 2018 that “A UK-based Iranian TV station is being funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director is a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Guardian can reveal.”
He tweeted and then deleted a Tweet that claimed he conducted a conversation with Khashoggi and that the Saudi journalist was murdered because of the call.
"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,” wrote Kamali Dehghan.
According to a November 2018 article on the website IranWire, “The Guardian’s press office told IranWire it will respond in writing to the question of whether it will confirm or deny the claim that Khashoggi was the source behind the Guardian article. At the time of writing, it still hasn’t.”
The Iranian regime’s PressTV wrote in 2018 that “Iran's Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad praised the Guardian correspondent in a tweet and warned about the ‘risks’ which he may encounter."
"Mr. Kamali Dehghan, the Guardian correspondent, confirmed in a brave step that Khashoggi had revealed before his death to him information about the establishment of the Persian-language 'Iran International' network by Saudi authorities," said the ambassador.
Iran’s PressTV participated in the torture of the former Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari during protests against a fraudulent Iranian presidential election in 2009.
The PressTV article headlined its report: “Khashoggi killed for disclosing Saudi funding of anti-Iran TV channel: Guardian.”
The Guardian and Kamali Dehghan declined to comment on the allegation that Kamali Dehghan manufactured a source.
In a lengthy editorial note at the end of Kamali Dehghan’s 2018 Guardian article, the news outlet Iran International wrote: “DMA Media and Iran International deny the claims made in this article regarding the operation and funding of Iran International and make the following statement in reply: Iran International is owned by Volant Media UK Ltd, which is a private limited company based in London. Its shareholders are private individuals. It has no connection to Mohammed bin Salman or the Saudi government (or any government, including that of Iran).”