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Russia: Top Iranian Commander Did Not Visit Moscow 'Last Week'


A senior Russian official has denied claims that an Iranian general visited Moscow in violation of a UN travel ban.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said General Qassem Soleimani -- the commander of foreign operations for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps -- wasn't in the Russian capital "last week."

"I have no information whatsoever that he visited Russia," Ryabkov said on August 14, adding that Moscow had told Washington so and was surprised to hear the continuing expression of concern from the United States.

U.S. reports on the alleged Soleimani visit to Moscow, however, said it took place late last month, and not last week as Ryabkov stated in his denial.

Soleimani is one of several Iranian officials targeted by a 2007 UN travel ban because of their alleged links to Iran's nuclear or ballistic-missile programs.

Despite a July 14 deal by Iran and world powers on its nuclear program, the sanctions against Soleimani remain in effect.

Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, AFP, and AP
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