Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff

INU - The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) denied on Wednesday comments from one of its former generals that the IRGC entered Bosnia during the 1992-1995 civil war, disguised as aid workers from Iran's Red Crescent Society's (IRCS), to train Bosnian Muslim fighters and work with Al-Qaeda in Europe. 

Retired IRGC General Saeed Qassemi, who is described as an outspoken ultraconservative who launched severe attacks on former President Mohammad Khatami and incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, told Regime-run media that during the 1990s he had visited Bosnia to train the fighters for battles against the Serbs while wearing the IRCS uniform. He noted that Al-Qaeda did not use the IRCS uniforms, but did claim to be there for humanitarian reasons.

IRGC's spokesman Ramazan Sharif said: "Mr Saeed Qassemi's remarks, who for a while was in Bosnia voluntarily and has retired a long time ago, are his personal views, devoid of credibility and are not shared by the IRGC."

It is strange to how this statement could be considered a “personal view” as it is either the truth or a lie, but Rouhani's office also dismissed the claim and accused Qassemi of helping "the enemy".

The IRCS denied Qassemi's claims, saying that permission never would have been given for this, and threatened to sue him. However, Qassemi never claimed to have sought permission and may well have impacted an aid worker without telling the IRCS.

Qassemi's comments came just days after the US State Department listed the IRGC as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization" and accused it of supporting militias around the world. It also helps prove that Iran and Al-Queda have been cooperating for years.

Qassemi, 59, said: "In Bosnia, in the heart of Europe, there were many developments. We were side by side with al-Qaeda. The members of al-Qaeda learned from us. From all over the world, Mujahedin poured into Bosnia, and there was a new development. Muslim Jihadi units were established."

He said that he was only revealing it now because CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, who he called a “dishonourable spy of the CNN”, had already discovered the ruse and was reporting on it.

It is worth noting that during the 1990s, the Iranian Regime vocally supported the Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs and Croats, due to advice from mid-ranking cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who currently presides over Iran’s Council of Guardians and the Assembly of Experts. Iran even launched a Bosnian speaking radio station and TV channel to assist the Muslim Bosnians.

During this time, the IRGC's extraterritorial arm, Qods Force, was able to expand and gain more power.

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