Quds Commander Declines Letter Sent from CIA Director

The commander of the Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, declined to receive and read a letter sent by CIA Director Mike Pompeo when he was in al-Boukamal, a border area between Syria and Iraq which was liberated by the Syrian regime this month, chief of staff of Iran’s Supreme Leader claimed on Thursday, Kurdish media network Rudaw reports.

Mohamadi Gulpaigani said that the American official sent the letter to Soleimani, from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), through an intermediary. He did not mention the time of the alleged incident, but said it happened “recently,” Fars News Agency, close to the IRGC reported.

“The head of the CIA through one of its intermediaries in the region sent a letter to General Soleimani, but he [Sleimani] responded: I will not accept your letter, nor will I read it. I have nothing to do with these people,’” Gulpaigani quoted the Iranian commander as saying.

The CIA has not commented on this claim as of yet. But the U.S. forces as part of the Global Coalition against ISIS, supported the mainly Kurdish SDF forces near the reported area at the time the Syrian regime announced the liberation of al-Boukamal.

Soleimani has had frequent visits to both Syria and Iraq especially since the war on ISIS began in 2014. The Iranian cleric was speaking at an event to celebrate the achievement of students of religious studies, advising them to follow the examples of Soleimani when dealing with the “Global Arrogance,” a reference to the United States.

Iran and the United States cut their relations in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed Shah regime.

President Donald Trump says that challenging the growing Iranian influence in the Middle East is one of the priorities of his administration. But beyond rhetoric, the U.S., alongside its regional allies Saudi Arabia and Israel, has yet to come up with a concrete plan to counter Iranian influence in countries such as Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon where Tehran has the upper hand.

Iran claims that the U.S. plus Israel supported the Kurdish vote on independence. Although the U.S., along with Iran and Turkey, opposed the referendum, Israel publicly supported the KRG-held process held on September 25.  Some Kurds raised the Israeli flag at the pro-independence rallies inside and outside of the Kurdistan Region.

Gulpaigani, late last month, said that Iran ended the dream to establish an independent state of Kurdistan, a second Israel, when Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi took control of Kirkuk.

“The United States and Israel had plotted to create a second Israel in the Kurdistan Region, and it was shameful to wave the Israeli flag there, but the instructions of the Supreme Leader and the sacrifices of general Soleimani spoiled their plots, and Kirkuk was liberated without a single drop of blood being shed,” Gulpaigani said.