Iran’s senior army official in Russia despite UN ban

Washington/Tehran: The Iranian ‘Quds Force’ Major General ‘Qassem Soleimani’ made a visit to Russia despite a ban being imposed on him by the US and UN. Western intelligence agencies claim that General Soleimani’s visit to Russia was planned in view with the increasing military and economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Strong reactions are expected from the US over this Russia visit by Soleimani. 

Qassem-SoleimaniSome officials from western intelligence agencies, while talking to the US media informed regarding Soleimani’s visit. Two days ago, ‘Quds Force’ Chief Soleimani arrived at the airport at the capital Moscow. The aforementioned media claimed that Soleimani’s trip to Russia was to last for a few days. It is said that General Soleimani was to meet with some senior Kremlin officials. In the past few weeks, Russia has increased its cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations. In order to be able to express disappointment over this issue, Soleimani had planned his visit to Russia, informed the US media sources. The US Central Intelligence Agency, the ‘CIA’ officials have refused to make a comment over the Iranian senior army official’s Russia visit. The US State Department has also said that it does not have any information regarding this visit. 

The ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia are strengthening in the oil production sector over the past few months. Analysts have claimed that if the cooperation between the two nations continues to grow, it would lead to the formation of a ‘Super-OPEC’. Apart from this, before initiating talks with the Syrian rebels regarding ceasefire, Russia had proposed to Saudi Arabia to be a part of it as well. It is evident from General Soleimani’s visit to Russia that Iran’s level of discomfort is increasing due to the collaborations between Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

In the UN restriction list that imposes a ban on Iran, some officials and companies from Iran also have been included. General Soleimani is one such official who has been listed and is subject to a travel ban, barring him from leaving Iran. In the year 2015, Soleimani made a visit to Russia twice. 

After the former US President Barack Obama signed the nuclear deal with Iran, the restrictions imposed on Iran were softened. Even so, there would be no slack cut over the ban imposed on General Soleimani, clearly stated the current Secretary of State John Kerry. However, General Soleimani and the soldiers of ‘Al – Quds’ have been fighting for the Assad government in Syria since the past one year. It has been claimed that the influential army official, Soleimani has caused around 70 thousand armed rebels from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon to be involved in the Syrian war. Likewise, General Soleimani has also lead the ‘Revolutionary Gaurds’, Hezbollah and affiliated organisations in the conflicts at Syria’s Aleppo, Latakia and Qusayr. 

Nevertheless, the ‘Quds Force’ is seen as a special force of commando group of soldiers from the Iranian military organization, ‘Revolutionary guards’. Soleimani is considered to be the most influential officer among the Iranian military commanders. Since many years Soleimani,  responsible for the ‘Quds Force’ has had a direct contact with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Based on these grounds, Soleimani’s visit to Russia which was made to express disappointment over Russia-Saudi Arabia ties, is considered to be critical. 

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