Why Iran? Anfand, who is of Iranian origin but lives and works in Iraqi Kurdistan, has been a sore point between the Iranian government and Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). He edits the magazine Israel-Kurd, a project of the Israel-Kurd Institute which promotes better ties between the KRG and Israel, and encourages Kurdish Jews living in Israel to return to Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran reportedly asked KRG to shut the magazine down, but the Kurdish government refused.
On June 13, a woman speaking Farsi answered Anfand’s phone, according to his colleague at Israel-Kurd, Diyari Mohammed, raising suspicions that the Islamic Republic was involved.
The journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) put out a release today calling for an investigation:
We fear the worst and we urge the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government’s authorities to do everything possible to find Mouloud Anfand. And we therefore call for an immediate investigation into this journalist’s disappearance.
The RSF release added that Iran says that by keeping Israel-Kurd open, KRG is “facilitating the ‘activities of the Zionist enemy’s agents,’ the Israeli intelligence services.” (“Israel-Kurd” seems an unlikely name for a covert Israeli spy front.)