Iranian arrested in Turkey not consulate employee, says Tehran

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Iran said Monday a citizen had been arrested in Turkey, but denied Turkish media claims he was a consulate employee, amid reports he is linked to the murder of an Iranian dissident.

According to Turkey’s Anadolu state news agency, the Iranian is suspected of providing forged travel documents to allow the alleged leader of the 2019 killing in Istanbul to return to Iran.

“No consulate employee has been arrested,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters.

“What has happened is the arrest of an Iranian national upon entry,” he added, noting that Iran was in contact with Turkey regarding the matter. He gave no further details.

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Turkey’s Andalou agency, which did not name the Iranian but said his initials were “M.R.N.” alleges he is linked to the November 14, 2019 shooting in Istanbul of Masoud Molavi.

Turkey’s pro-government daily Sabah last week claimed the arrested man was 43-year-old Mohammad Reza Naserzadeh, and the alleged man who used the forged travel documents to escape Turkey, Ali Esfanjani.

Molavi was said to have helped run the “Black Box” channel on the Telegram messaging service, publishing corruption allegations against Iranian officials.

Neighbors Iran and Turkey enjoy robust trade and diplomatic ties despite a series of regional disputes, including in Syria.

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