Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani has flown to Moscow for talks with Russia’s military and political leadership, three sources with knowledge of his trip said on Friday.
“General Soleimani travelled to Moscow last night to discuss issues including the delivery of S-300s and further military cooperation,” one senior Iranian security official told Reuters, referring to an air defence system Russia is supplying Iran.
One Moscow-based Western diplomat said he understood Soleimani would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. A Kremlin spokesman said a meeting with Soleimani was not on Putin’s schedule.
Soleimani, the commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, flew to Moscow in July last year to help Russia plan its military intervention in Syria and forge an Iranian-Russian alliance to support Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
He was previously subject to an international travel ban by the U.N. Security Council with Washington designating the Quds Force, the unit of the Revolutionary Guards which Soleimani leads, as a supporter of terrorism.
That ban was rescinded earlier this year however when a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was implemented, triggering sanctions relief for Tehran.