RNA - Saudi Arabia spends hundreds of millions of pounds in the UK annually to fund TV channels in order to spread its Wahhabi ideology and encourage terrorism and conflicts in the region, Rodney Shakespeare said.
A UK-based anti-Iran television channel is being funded through a secretive offshore entity and a company whose director is a Saudi Arabian businessman with close links to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, British media have revealed.
A source has told the Guardian newspaper that the Saudi prince, who is also known as MBS and is likely responsible for the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is the force behind Iran International.
The source told the Guardian that Saud al-Qahtani, who served as media adviser to MBS and was among several senior officials removed in connection with Khashoggi’s murder, was involved in the funding of Iran International.
“This is a disgusting use of Saudi money and its happening in the UK and that is because the UK has a disgusting government which is supporting Saudi Arabia in is occupation of Bahrain…and we are supporting the massacre in Yemen,” Shakespeare said.
“The whole thing represents money being used by television stations” to buy public relations and broadcast their “dirty propaganda to hide the nasty reality, which is the UK government, is hand in glove with the most despicable regime in the world,” he added.
According to Press TV, Volant Media, the company that runs Iran International, has a director named Adel Abdulkarim, who is a Saudi national. He has had a long working relationship with well-connected Saudi executives, some of who have links to the Saudi ruling family.
The disclosures contradict the channel’s claim that it has editorial independence, and come at a time of growing fears about a number of Saudi-linked stations operating across London.
Iran International emerged abruptly on the London media scene last year, with many of its 100 or so employees receiving generous salaries, often double what rivals paid, but has been elusive about its source of funding, according to the Guardian.
According to one source, Saudi Arabia gave $250 million (£197 million) in funding to help the launch of Iran International, which runs no commercial advertising.
“It appears that Iran International is part and parcel of the Saudi crown prince’s decision to take a more aggressive posture against Iran, emboldened, no doubt, by the Trump administration,” said Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi, a postdoctoral research fellow in modern Iranian history at the University of Oxford.