Iran Says None of Its Consulate Staff Members Arrested in Turkey

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has denied Daily Sabah’s allegation that a staff member of the Iranian consulate in Istanbul has been arrested, saying the report is based on groundless accusations.

In a statement on Thursday night, Khatibzadeh said none of the staff members of the Iranian consulate in Istanbul has been and is involved in the activities claimed by Daily Sabah, whatsoever.

“In addition, none of the staff members of the Iranian consulate has been arrested,” he added.

The spokesman said the person whose name is mentioned in Daily Sabah’s report has not been a staff member of the consulate, and Iran is in talks with Turkish officials through official channels in order to shed light on different aspects of the issue.

In a report on Thursday, Daily Sabah claimed that a staff member of the Iranian Consulate in Istanbul has been arrested for helping the mastermind of the murder of Masoud Molavi Vardanjani in 2019 in the city.

Muhammad Reza Naserzadeh, 43, is accused of forging travel documents for Ali Esfanjani, the alleged mastermind of the killing, to smuggle him to Iran, the report claimed.

Vardanjani was shot dead by Abdulvahap Koçak on Nov. 14, 2019, on a street in Istanbul’s Şişli district.

Naserzadeh’s name came up when Siyavash Abazari Shalamzari, a suspect who helped Esfanjani flee into Iran following the murder, provided testimony for investigators. A court issued an arrest warrant for Naserzadeh, who was arrested earlier this week.

Naserzadeh claimed in his testimony that he was not in Turkey at the time of the murder and was not acquainted with Esfanjani or other suspects in the case.

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