Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday denounced the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In his first comments since the death, the crown prince called it a “heinous crime” and said Saudi Arabia was cooperating with Turkish authorities investigating the matter, Reuters reported.

Khashoggi, a columnist with The Washington Post, went missing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Two weeks later, Riyadh admitted that the journalist had been killed. Saudi Arabia had initially denied knowing anything about his death, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said it was a planned affair.

“The crime was very painful to all Saudis. And it is painful, heinous to every human being in the world,” Mohammed bin Salman said during an address at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh. “Those behind this crime will be held accountable... in the end justice will prevail.”

The crown prince further said: “Many are trying to exploit the Khashoggi affair to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. But they will not succeed as long as there is a King named Salman and a Crown Prince named Mohammed bin Salman.”

Kingdom under international pressure

Saudi Arabia is under mounting international pressure with several countries accusing it of a cover-up.

France on Wednesday said it was ready to support “international sanctions” against those who are responsible for the murder. The United Kingdom said it will revoke the visas of the Saudi Arabian suspects involved in the murder.

The United States has already claimed to have identified 21 Saudi officials whose visas would be either revoked or who would become ineligible for visas in the future for their alleged involvement in Khashoggi’s murder. President Donald Trump called Khashoggi’s killing “the worst cover-up ever”.

Iran hints at US backing

Iran, meanwhile, claimed Saudi Arabia had the United States’ backing to murder Khashoggi. “I don’t think that any country would dare do such a thing without US backing,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, according to AFP. Before Khashoggi’s murder, “it would have been unthinkable that in this day and age we would witness such an organised felony”, Rouhani said.

“It is extremely significant that an institution planned such a heinous murder,” the president said. “The tribal group that is ruling that nation [Saudi Arabia] has a security margin. That security margin is that it relies on US backing. It is this superpower that is backing them.”