Iraq closes US-funded TV station for 3 months after report on corruption

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BAGHDAD – Iraqi officials on Monday suspended the license of a US-funded TV station for three months after a program on corruption was aired.

The report showed a possible case of corruption within Iraqi Sunni and Shiite religious establishments and accused prominent religious figures of benefiting from companies as a result of their connections with the state.

The program has sparked protests on social networks, with some politicians demanding that the station offices in Iraq be closed.

The Media and Communications Commission, the country’s media regulator, on Monday demanded a public apology from broadcaster Al-Hurra and suspended its work for three months, accusing it of prejudice and defamation.

In a statement, Al-Hurra described its report as “fair, professional and balanced.” The company said it had given ample opportunity for those mentioned in the case to respond, but they declined.

“Given the political, economic and social challenges facing the region, transparency and honesty in media reporting are urgently needed,” he said.

Elsewhere in Iraq, the Kirkuk-Baniyas pipeline would dispense with US-promoted liquefied gas on the European market, a political scientist explained.

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The Iranian authorities have proposed to reopen the Kirkuk-Baniyas pipeline through Iraq. It would be a crucial element in creating an independent US oil supply system for Europe, experts say.

Iran has proposed to Iraq to reopen the pipeline to the Syrian port of Baniyas in the Mediterranean to “circumvent US sanctions and not use the Strait of Hormuz, as there are increasing fears about its closure in the event of clashes between the US, its allies and Iran,” Iraqi television channel Al-Sumaria reported.

A land hydrocarbon corridor in the Mediterranean has long been very important to Iran, says Leonid Krutakov, professor and political scientist at the Russian Financial University, quoted by the Russian daily Vzglyad.

The expert recalls that the civil war in Syria began shortly after Iran Iraq and Syria in 2011 signed a memorandum for the construction of a pipeline from the Iranian South Pars field to Europe.

This pipeline would dispense US-promoted liquefied gas into the European market, explained the political scientist.

Due to the war in Syria, previous plans to build a pipeline were suspended. At about the same time, the prospects for the Kirkuk-Baniyas route were discussed , but after the deteriorating situation in Syria and northern Iraq, these negotiations were postponed.

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