BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:40 P.M.) – The Associated Press revealed details about a secret visit to Baghdad by the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite Quds Force, Ismail Ghaani, earlier this week.
Citing four Iraqi officials, the publication said that he had arrived in Baghdad late Monday, marking his first visit to Iraq since the assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the late commander of the Quds Force.
The officials confirmed that the commander of the Quds Force left the airport, after entering Iraq, amid tight security, with a three-car convoy.
The officials pointed out that the secret visit came in an attempt to unite Iraqi political leaders, at a time when several political groups are at odds.
One of the officials told the AP that Ghaani confirmed at the meetings he held in Baghdad that Iran does not want Al-Zarfi to assume the premiership of the Iraqi government.
The agency pointed out that many officials saw Ghaani’s visit as a test of his ability to establish consensus between the various political blocs in Iraq, but his lack of proficiency in the Arabic language and the absence of personal relationships between him and the main figures in Iraq raises doubts in this regard.
Ghaani’s visit comes at a time when tensions between the U.S. and Iran are at their highest point in recent memory.