Scholar says Khashoggi mur­der ques­tions Trump’s anti-Iran ap­proach

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Ne­gar Asadi

TEHRAN — Mod­jtaba Sadria, a prom­i­nent scholar, says that mur­der of Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi ques­tions the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s tough ap­proach to­wards Iran.

“The fact that the Saudi Ara­bian jour­nal­ist was ex­e­cuted and dis­ap­peared in a ter­ri­ble way brings a big prob­lem about the moral jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of tough po­si­tion of Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to­wards Iran and not Saudi Ara­bia,” Sadria tells the Tehran Times in an in­ter­view.

“Now, the U.S. is in dif­fi­culty. It has be­come clear that the big­gest ally of the U.S. in the [Mid­dle East] re­gion has no re­spect for the hu­man rights and is in­volved in such crime. How can it be jus­ti­fied to make that one [Saudi Ara­bia] as a good guy and to present Iran as a bad guy?” he noted.

Khashoggi, a Saudi critic writ­ing in the Wash­ing­ton Post, was killed in the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul on Oc­to­ber 2.

Riyadh ini­tially de­nied knowl­edge of Khashoggi’s fate, claim­ing that he left the con­sulate. How­ever, later Saudis ad­mit­ted that he was killed in the con­sulate.

The chief pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice in Is­tan­bul, Ir­fan Fi­danis­sued, is­sued a state­ment on Wed­nes­day an­nounc­ing that the body of Khashoggi was dis­mem­bered af­ter he was stran­gled as soon as he en­tered the con­sulate.

“The vic­tim’s body was dis­mem­bered and de­stroyed fol­low­ing his death by suf­fo­ca­tion,” the state­ment said.

Yasin Ak­tay, an ad­viser to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, told the news­pa­per Hur­riyet on Fri­day that Khashoggi’s body was “dis­solved” af­ter his mur­der and dis­mem­ber­ment at the Saudi con­sulate.

The Turk­ish pres­i­dent on Fri­day de­manded that Saudi Ara­bia re­veal the lo­ca­tion of Khashoggi’s body and hand over 18 sus­pects.

Er­do­gan wrote in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished by The Wash­ing­ton Post on Fri­day, “We know the or­der to kill Khashoggi came from the high­est lev­els of the Saudi gov­ern­ment.”

“As re­spon­si­ble mem­bers of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, we must re­veal the iden­ti­ties of the pup­pet­mas­ters be­hind Khashoggi’s killing and dis­cover those in whom Saudi of­fi­cials — still try­ing to cover up the mur­der — have placed their trust,” he wrote.

‘World can­not ac­cept U.S. poli­cies’

Sadria also said that the world can­not ac­cept the U.S. poli­cies and give in to Wash­ing­ton un­der the threat of sanc­tions.

He said that sit­u­a­tion of the oil mar­ket and also the in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion makes it al­most im­pos­si­ble for buy­ers of Iran’s oil to fol­low the U.S. pol­icy of im­pos­ing sanc­tions on Iran.

It seems that there has been a change in the U.S. pol­icy from “ab­so­lute sanc­tions” to “rel­a­tive sanc­tions”, he noted.

In May Pres­i­dent Trump uni­lat­er­ally pulled the U.S. out of the his­toric 2015 nu­clear agree­ment rein­tro­duced sanc­tions on Iran. The first batch of sanc­tions were en­acted in Au­gust. The sec­ond wave of sanc­tions, which tar­gets Iran’s oil ex­ports and cen­tral bank, is due to start on Novem­ber 5.

How­ever, Bloomberg re­ported on Fri­day that the U.S. has agreed to let eight coun­tries, in­clud­ing Ja­pan, In­dia and South Korea, keep buy­ing Iran’s oil af­ter it re-im­poses sanc­tions.

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