Iranian Commander: Today Iraq and Lebanon, Tomorrow Jordan

Qassem Soleimani is first senior official to reveal Tehran’s ambitions in Hashemite kingdom.

Jack Khoury
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Qassem Soleimani, left, during operations against Islamic State in northern Iraq's Salahuddin province, March 8, 2015.Credit: Reuters
Jack Khoury

A top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said this weekend he believed Tehran had the ability to control events in Jordan, as it does in Iraq and Lebanon.

Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds force — the foreign wing of the Revolutionary Guards — was addressing a youth conference in Tehran. His remarks were the first time a senior Iranian official has openly discussed Iranian ambitions in Jordan.

One of the Guards’ chief strategists who operates primarily beyond Iran’s borders, Soleimani was voted No. 2 in an online Man of the Year poll conducted by an Iranian news website. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif won the poll.

The Iranian Student News Agency quoted Soleimani as saying that Iran has a presence in Lebanon and Iraq and that both countries are yielding to Iranian interests. He added that Iran has the ability to control Jordan in the same way. Soleimani said the revolutions in the Arab world are slowly taking on a Muslim tone, similar to Iran’s Islamic revolution, and that Tehran should provide aid and guidance to these revolutions.

Iran is known to have an influence in Iraq and Lebanon and to be operating in Yemen, and has recently tried to bring Hamas into its fold.