- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2015

Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Iranian Quds Force that is tied to terrorist activity and reports directly to the supreme leader, recently visited Moscow to meet with Russian leaders — breaking travel bans, according to two Western intelligence sources. 

On July 24, one week before Secretary of State John Kerry testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee and faced questions about the nuclear deal with Iran, Mr. Soleimani arrived in Moscow for meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin, Fox News reported Thursday.

It is unclear what the Iranian and Russian leaders discussed, but the revelation comes as the United Nations and European Union arms embargo against Iran is scheduled to be lifted in five years under the new nuclear deal.

According to two Western intelligence sources, Mr. Soleimani arrived in Moscow on a commercial flight about 6:50 a.m. on July 24, a Friday. He left the following Sunday at 10:25 p.m., Fox reported.

In addition to his official meetings, Mr. Soleimani reportedly had “fun time” built into his schedule that involved Russian entertainment.

U.N. sanctions have not yet been lifted against Iran, and Mr. Soleimani is prohibited to travel under Security Council Resolution 1747. Any country that lets Mr. Soleimani transit or travel is defying the sanctions. Russia is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and would have been aware of the travel ban.

The Quds Force is the special forces external wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, responsible for supporting terrorist proxies across the Middle East. It reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Mr. Soleimani has also been sanctioned by the U.S. He was designated as a terrorist in 2005 and sanctioned for his role as a supporter of terrorist activity.

In 2010 the U.S. Treasury Department linked Mr. Soleimani to the failed Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States while he dined in a D.C. restaurant.

“Qassem Soleimani is the one who has been exporting malign activities throughout the Middle East for some time now,” outgoing U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said in an interview with Fox. “He’s absolutely responsible for killing many Americans, in fact I would say the last two years I was there the majority of our casualties came from his surrogates, not Sunni or al Qaeda.”

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide

Sponsored Stories