Russia denies hosting top Iranian commander

AP News
Posted: Aug 14, 2015 5:03 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — A senior Russian diplomat on Friday denied claims that an Iranian general has visited Moscow in violation of the United Nations sanctions.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow assured Washington that Maj. Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, hadn't visited Moscow.

"I have no information whatsoever that he visited Russia," Ryabkov said, adding that Moscow had told Washington so and was surprised to hear the continuing expression of concern from the U.S.

Fox News has reported that Soleimani visited Moscow last month for meetings with President Vladimir Putin and his defense minister.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov had earlier denied that the president had no such meeting.

U.S. officials have said Washington was trying to determine if Soleimani had traveled to Moscow in violation of the U.N. travel ban. Soleimaini has been on the U.N. sanctions blacklist since 2007, which also requires that all countries freeze his overseas assets.