Tehran, Aug 15, IRNA – The United States said it would raise the issue of the alleged visit to Moscow by Major General Qassem Soleimani at the United Nations, claiming it has violated UN resolutions on Iran, Agence France-Presse (AFP) has reported.
Western media have recently claimed that Soleimani, chief of the elite Quds Force in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), visited Russian capital in late July.
According to AFP, US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner confirmed the trip Wednesday saying, ‘So we’ve raised this travel with senior Russian foreign ministry officials, and we’re going to raise it and address it further in New York,’ Toner was quoted by the French news agency.
The news agency referred to the Iranian commander as “one of several Iranian officials targeted by a 2007 UN travel ban because of their alleged links to Iran’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs.”
Despite the recent deal struck by Iran and world powers on its nuclear program the sanctions against Soleimani remain in effect, Toner noted, adding the US would work to ensure ‘that there’s a full, thorough, adequate investigation (of the visit) as well as sufficient follow-up’.
However, the claim by Western media was rejected by Moscow when a senior Russian diplomat has recently denied claims that an Iranian general visited Moscow in violation of United Nations sanctions banning travel.
Soleimani’s reported visit has been used to bolster the arguments of those in the US who oppose the nuclear agreement reached last month with Iran. The deal, which would curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions, comes up for a vote in the US Congress in September.
While Fox News claimed that Commander Soleimani arrived in Moscow on July 24 and met President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu before departing three days later, a Kremlin spokesman denied any meeting between Soleimani and Putin had taken place.