The Iranian media reports that a senior Quds Force commander will be appointed Iran’s new ambassador to Baghdad.
According to Asr-e Iran, Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, a senior advisor to Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani, will replace Hassan Danaeifar, who has served as Tehran’s ambassador to Baghdad over the past six years. Hamshahri, another Iranian outlet, quoted “informed sources” as confirming that Masjedi’s selection process was “at the final stage.”
The Quds Force is the secretive branch of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) that is responsible for external operations and trains and arms terrorist groups and sectarian militias across the Middle East.
While there is little information about Masjedi in the Western media, a survey of the Iranian press shows that he has played an influential role in the Syrian and Iraqi wars as a senior advisor to Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani.
Masjedi served as an IRGC commander at Base Ramezan during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s; and according to analysts of Iranian military affairs, that experience qualified him to play a major role in Quds Force operations in Iraq after the 2003 US invasion. Last June, Masjidi said that “Aleppo, Fallujah and other regions in Syria and Iraq are the frontline of the Islamic Resistance,” and argued that “the fight in Syria and Iraq serves to defend our country’s borders.”
The appointment of Masjedi as Tehran’s new envoy to Baghdad is not confirmed yet, but it should not surprise anyone. Over the past 13 years, the IRGC’s Quds Force has not only been actively involved in the war in Iraq, but its operatives disguised as civilians have striven to shape Iraqi politics in Iran’s favor and against the United States and its allies. Nor will Masjedi be the first Quds Force operative to represent Tehran in Baghdad. In 2007, General David Petraeus, the top US military commander in Iraq, alleged that Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, then Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, was a member of the Quds Force.