The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has denied the Iranian state-run TV report that it assisted the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) intelligence agents in arresting the Paris-based director of an "anti-Iranian" website, Ruhollah Zam.
Speaking with Radio Farda on October 18, KRG spokesman Jutyar Adil said, "Zam has never been in Iraqi Kurdistan to be arrested there."
The day before, the monopolized state-run TV had claimed that IRGC agents arrested Zam in KRG territory near the Iranian border. Contradictory information on Zam's kidnapping and transport to Iran is still being widely circulated by Iranian news outlets.
The IRGC's fearsome Intelligence Organization reported on October 14 that it had arrested Zam and "guided" him to Iran. However, the IRGC's statement made no comment about the time or location of the kidnapping.
Two days later, Zam's wife, Mahsa Razani, maintained in a TV interview that IRGC agents had kidnapped her husband in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
Zam, 46, was the owner of AMAD (Persian acronym for Awareness, Combat, and Democracy) news, later renamed Seda-ye Mardom (Voice of the People.) He had been a vociferous critic of Iran for the past several years with a large following on social media, often spreading information about corruption by officials.
The IRGC announced on October 14 that they had detained Zam through "an elaborate" scheme, luring him back to Iran. Later, Le Figaro quoted French officials as saying Zam had flown to Iraq. The paper also quoted sources as saying Iranian agents had convinced Zam that Iraq's influential Shi'ite religious leader Ali al-Sistani was ready to meet with him.
After the Figaro report, the French Foreign Ministry on October 16 made its first public statement about Zam, confirming he left the country on October 11 without commenting on whether he was under French police protection and saying he was free to leave or enter the country.
However, the ministry called for respect for "the rule of law, including freedom of expression" and strongly condemned Zam's arrest.