For immediate release 18th January 2017
The recent appointment of Brigadier Iraj Masjadi as Iran’s ambassador to Iraq has provided the clearest evidence yet of the theocratic regime’s aggressive dominance over its closest neighbour. The appointment has been roundly condemned by the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA), whose President – Struan Stevenson – says that Masjadi’s appointment clearly demonstrates how Iran exults in its role as the world’s leading exporter of terror. Speaking in Scotland, Stevenson said: “The Iranian mullahs finance and supply men and material to the brutal Shi’ia militias in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Qods Force are involved in every Middle East conflict. Masjadi was the senior deputy of General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC. Both organisations are on international terrorist lists. Iranian media outlets have confirmed that Masjadi’s appointment was based on a proposal by General Qasem Soleimani, with the approval of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. This is an outrage against the norms of international diplomacy.”
The IRGC considers the Iranian embassy in Baghdad to be the most strategically important of its embassies within the range of Middle East countries that are subject to Tehran’s influence, including Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Masjadi has been one of the key mentors of the mullahs’ policy of aggressive expansionism. He claimed, during the battle to recapture the ancient Iraqi city of Fallujah from Daesh (ISIS) that: “The involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the battle of Fallujah was in order to preserve Iran’s status as the Shi’ite centre of the world. We are defending Iran and its borders.” Masjadi and General Qasem Soleimani masterminded the ruthless ethnic cleansing of the Sunni population in Fallujah and Ramadi by the pro-Iranian Shi’ia militias that led to the destruction of both cities and the death of many thousands of innocent civilians. A similar bloodbath is now taking place in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and a predominantly Sunni stronghold. Masjadi had a very active role in repression of the Syrian people and also the killing of Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty near Baghdad airport.
In a statement last May, Brigadier Masjadi also revealed the role of the Iranian Quds Force in maintaining the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad saying: “Without the interference of the Quds forces in the last moments, the Syrian regime would have fallen into the hands of the Syrian opposition. After the Syrian armed opposition took control of most areas in Damascus and its countryside, Syria was on the verge of completely falling down. We finally intervened at the last minute and saved Damascus and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from an inevitable downfall. The fall of the Syrian government in Damascus at the hands of the Syrian armed opposition would have meant disrupting the link between Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. In this case we believe that Hezbollah would have been besieged, its position would be very weak and it would have experienced hardship in Lebanon.”
Struan Stevenson stated: “The appointment of a Revolutionary Guard commander and adviser as the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad once again proves that the fascist Iranian regime has no interest whatsoever in seeking peace and conflict resolution in the Middle East. Iran is the main problem in the zone. It can never be the solution.”
He added: “This also shows that Iran, by misusing the war against Daesh, is determined to expand its influence in Iraq more than ever. As EIFA has repeatedly stated, if the new US administration wishes to get rid of Daesh completely, it must evict the Iranian regime, the IRGC and its affiliated militias from Iraq. This is the only way the criminal Iranian regime can be prevented from exploiting the USA and its allies to its advantage in Iraq.”
Note: Struan Stevenson was a Member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014). He was President of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009- 2014) and Chair of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (Caucus) from 2004-2014. He is now President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA).