ERBIL — The Islamic Republic of Iran via Iraqi Vice President Nouri Maliki is funding a Kurdish media outlet which is working as a proxy to oppose Kurdistan’s independence referendum.
Esther Shirazi, a Jewish Iranian dissident advocate for human rights across the Middle East, said, in an op-ed published by Jerusalem Online, that according to recent reports, Iran has agents operating in Iraq in order to oppose Kurdistan’s independence referendum.
Depending on an Iranian source, Shirazi said “Iran is funding Iraqi Vice President Nouri Al Maliki” and “Maliki is using this money in order to pay the media outlets and journalists in order to oppose Kurdistan’s independence referendum.”
“These reports claim that one of the people whom Maliki is funding is Shaswar Abdulwahid Qadir, who runs NRT TV and Nalia Media Corporation, which indirectly via PAM has hired Mercury to lobby the US government to oppose Kurdistan’s independence,” Shirazi writes.
An anonymous source revealed, “His [Qadir’s] brother is the main business partner of Maliki in Baghdad.”
“Former Kurdish MP in Baghdad Sirwan Ahmed has previously charged that Maliki was financing the Nalia Media Corporation and using certain Kurdish media outlets to oppose Kurdistan’s referendum.
According to an official document published by Kurdish media, Maliki had given $87 million to Chavi Land, one of the projects owned by Qadir.”
Shirazi continued by saying that Qadir “has fired several journalists from his media outlet due to their support for an independent Kurdistan. Also, some journalists have left his news outlets because they wanted to openly support an independent Kurdistan and he would not let them.”
The writer believes that the funding Iran sends to Qadir through Maliki is the source of his opposition to Kurdistan’s independence.
Before Maliki came to power, Qadir was merely a small businessman and one year after Maliki came to power, he founded the Nalia Company for Real Estate and Construction and later launched NRT TV, Shirzai said, adding “sources inside Iraq claim that the money he received from Maliki is what enabled him to be successful in such difficult projects.”