Iran’s blacklisted Qassem Suleimani spotted in Iraq

Iran’s elite Quds Force chief has been subject to an international travel ban and asset freeze by the U.N. since 2007

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U.N. sanctions monitors on Tuesday said photographs taken inside Iraq appear to confirm that the head of Iran’s elite military Quds Force Qassem Suleimani has been spotted in the country, in an alleged violation of a U.N. travel ban.

Suleimani, chief of the Force which is an overseas arm of the Revolutionary Guards, has been subject to an international travel ban and asset freeze by the U.N. Security Council since 2007.

Read also: Does Qassem Suleimani’s media exposure benefit Iran?

A seven-page report by the U.N. Panel of Experts on Iran, seen by Reuters news agency on Monday, said Suleimani “has been photographed and videoed on a number of occasions, allegedly in Iraq.”

“One photograph reportedly shows him near the city of Amerli in northern Iraq after Iraqi forces re-took the city from ISIS (an acronym often used for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria),” it said.

The report included a photo purporting to be of Suleimani in Iraq.

In September, Suleimani was in Iran’s western neighbor and was playing a critical role in the fight against Sunni ISIS militants.

Iran is supporting Iraqi government forces and Shiite militia against the militants, who have seized large swaths of Iraqi and Syrian territory.

Washington designated Soleimani’s Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism in 2007. The European Union did the same in 2011.

U.N. member states are required to deny entry to blacklisted individuals.

Diplomats at Iraq’s U.N. mission did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

[With Reuters]

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