Photo Credit: Hana Levi Julian
Istanbul street scene.

The founder of a Farsi-language satellite television network has been assassinated in Istanbul, together with his Kuwaiti business partner.

Saeed Karimian, CEO of GEM TV was shot to death after his car was blocked by an SUV, effectively trapping him and his partner in the Maslak neighborhood. Karimian, 45, had previously been tried in abstentia by a Tehran court, according to the BBC. He was sentenced to six years in prison for “spreading propaganda against Iran.”


According to the report, the gunmen were masked and opened fire on the vehicle. Karimian reportedly died instantly; his partner died later in the hospital, the BBC reported. The SUV used in the attack was later discovered torched and abandoned.

Family members told the BBC that Karimian had been threatened repeatedly by the Tehran regime over the past three months and was planning to quit Istanbul to move to London as a result.

The Saturday night attack was first reported by Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper and then by international media. The assassination followed an alleged Iranian court decision in March to sentence Karimian to sentence him to prison for making “propaganda” against the Islamic Republic.”

GEM TV was first initially established in London and then expanded to Dubai. The network, which has 17 Persian-language channels, dubs foreign and Western programs into Farsi (Persian) and broadcasts them into Iran, despite criticism by the Tehran government for showing programs that allegedly defy Islamic values and “spread Western culture.” The network also has a channel in Kurdish, Azeri and Arabic.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.