A senior Russian diplomat on Friday denied claims that an Iranian general visited Moscow in violation of United Nations sanctions banning travel, reports The Associated Press (AP).
The reported visit last month by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, had raised concerns in Washington. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed those concerns to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a phone call on Thursday, the State Department said.
"I have no information whatsoever that he visited Russia," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday, according to AP. He said Russia had assured the United States that Soleimani had not visited Moscow and was surprised to hear the continuing expression of concern.
Soleiman had reportedly met Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin on July 24.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, earlier denied that the president had met with the Iranian commander.
Soleimani is one of several Iranian officials targeted by a 2007 United Nations travel ban because of their alleged links to Iran’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs, but the sanctions against him are due to be lifted in the event the Iran nuclear deal is implemented.
Soleimani has also been sighted visiting Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, Shiite and Kurdish units fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) alongside government forces.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)