Today March 15, 2017 Struan Stevenson, President of European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA), issued a press release, concerning the appointment of a war criminal, as Iran regime’s ambassador to Iraq as follows:
Iranian news media reported that the Iraqi government has accepted the revolutionary guard Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, a senior adviser to Qasem Soleimani, commander of the terrorist Quds Force, as the Iranian regime’s ambassador in Baghdad. The media wrote: “The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad is considered one of the key strategic posts abroad and the selection of its Ambassador is crucial.” Masjedi said in January 2017 that the frontlines for Iran are Damascus and Aleppo in Syria and Mosul and Falujah in Iraq.
After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the lethal mistake of the United States in opening Iraq’s doors to the theocratic dictatorship in Iran, Iraq became a platform for the export of terrorism and the destabilization of countries of the region. No wander the Iranian ambassadors to Iraq have almost all been former Quds Force commanders.
The main mission of Masjedi is the consolidation and expansion of Iranian hegemony over Iraq as the most important point for the export of crisis and insecurity in the region. His agenda includes:
• Using Iraq to interfere in neighboring countries. Iran is particularly seeking to have the ability to interfere in Saudi Arabia through Iraq in any potential development in the region.
• Interfering in Iraq’s 2018 elections, preventing a free election and blocking the victory of the patriotic and national forces. This includes returning the ultra-corrupt and vicious sectarian Nouri al-Maliki and his gang to power.
• Expansion of Hashd al-Shaabi and militants linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iraq and their dominance over the military, political, security and the Iraqi economy. Iran wishes to replicate the experience of the IRGC in Iraq.
• Circumvent international sanctions against Iran by utilising facilities within Iraq, particularly by using the Central Bank of Iraq.
• IRGC control over Iraq’s oil resources and economic projects.
In an interview with ISNA news agency on March 8, Masjedi acknowledged some of the above-mentioned goals and in respect of the 2018 elections he said: “We encourage the cooperation of Shi’ite groups, but the entry of problematic individuals to power must be prevented.”
In 2005, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, revealed a totally secret document relating to the IRGC that included a list of 32,000 Iraqis on its payroll in Iraq. Since 2003, these individuals had entered Iraq in an organized way and under the guidance and direct control of IRGC commanders, including Qassem Soleimani, Iraj Masjedi, Ahmad Forouzandeh and Hamid Taghavi. They infiltrated Iraq’s political, economic, military and security apparatus. In that document, bank accounts and salaries, the date of their recruitment by the IRGC in Iran, the name of the unit they served in and their personnel numbers were identified. Unfortunately the US neglected to give attention to this document at the time and their on-going indifference to the presence of these agents played a big part to the creation of the current catastrophic situation in Iraq.
Iraj Masjedi created terrorist networks, militias, and Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi. Since the creation of the Quds Force, Masjedi became the commander of its first division, whose task was to carry out terrorist operations in Iraq and it controlled the 9 Badr and Supreme Council terrorist groups. Other militias that were formed later by him are now involved in killings and crimes in Iraq and Syria. Faleh Fayyaz, the head of Hashd al-Shaabi who has been the Iraqi government National Security Adviser, as well as known terrorists such as AbuMahdi al-Mohandes and Hadi al-Ameri, Qais al-Khazali, Akram al-Kaabi, Hashem al-Moussawi and many other militia commanders, were all under the control of Masjedi. It is well known that most terrorist activities in Iraq during the past 14 years and the bombing and killing of Iraqi civilians, were all carried out under his supervision.
Bombings against coalition forces, kidnapping British citizens in Baghdad, the attack on the headquarters of US forces in Karbala in 2007, were all operations guided by Masjedi. Moreover, all of the missile attacks and killings and kidnappings of opposition PMOI members during the years they were in Camps Ashraf and Camp Liberty in Iraq were carried out by Masjedi and militias under his command.
Without a doubt, Masjedi is a war criminal and should be prosecuted. His presence in Iraq as a diplomat not only is a clear violation of recognized diplomatic standards and practices, but also exacerbates the crisis and terrorism in Iraq.
The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) strongly condemns the appointment of this war criminal as an ambassador and urges the UN Security Council, the US and EU, which are responsible for the situation in Iraq, to immediately intervene to prevent the deployment of Masjedi as ambassador to Iraq.
Struan Stevenson, President, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)
Struan Stevenson was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), President of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and Chairman of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is a lecturer on Middle East policy and President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA).