Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani Is Flexing His Political Muscle In Iran

FILE PHOTO: A portrait of Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani is held up during a demonstration in Baghdad, March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani/File Photo

Reuters: Revolutionary Guards commander flexes political muscle

(Reuters) - Qassem Soleimani’s role in a political crisis in Iran highlights the influence of the leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, who has acquired celebrity status at home after being largely invisible for years.

The resignation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week was quickly rejected by President Hassan Rouhani, but a week on, tension over Zarif’s absence from meetings with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that Soleimani attended is still evident.

Soleimani’s Quds Force, tasked with carrying out operations beyond Iran’s borders, shored up support for Assad when he looked close to defeat in the civil war raging since 2011 and also helped militiamen defeat Islamic State in Iraq.

Its successes have made Soleimani instrumental to the steady spreading of Iranian influence in the Middle East, which the United States and Tehran’s regional foes Saudi Arabia and Israel have struggled to keep in check.

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WNU Editor: Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani has influence and power in Iran because the clergy who rule Iran have given him the support, media attention, and resources necessary to be a player in Iranian politics. And the reason why the mullahs have given him this influence is to confront and keep in check people like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif .... The duel between Qassem Soleimani and Mohammad Javad Zarif sends important messages (The National).

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