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Former IRGC general says al-Qaeda in Bosnia learned from them in 1990s

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Saeed Qassemi, a retired IRGC general, said on April 14 that he had visited Bosnia in the 1990s to train Bosnian Muslim fighters against the Serbs while wearing the Iranian Red Crescent uniform, Voice of America reported.

This came as he was interviewed by the state-approved internet channel, Aparat.

Qassemi is an outspoken ultraconservative, renowned for his vitriolic attacks on reformist former President Mohammad Khatami and the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.

In the same interview, Qassemi admits that he is divulging the fact since the Americans had already discovered the ruse and written about it.

Side by side with al-Qaeda

During the interview, the former IRGC commander boasted about his role and that of his comrades in the Bosnian civil war, while they were wearing the IRCS uniforms.

"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, mujahedeen poured into Bosnia, and there was a new development. Muslim jihadi units were established," Qassemi maintained.

Referring to CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, who is of Iranian descent, Qassemi said that she was the person who found out about their deception.

"This fellow compatriot of ours [Amanpour] — who all of our politicians, including [ultraconservative former President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad to [President Hassan] Rouhani, love to give her interviews — this dishonorable spy of the CNN, gave us away."

Qassemi's comments were followed by a harsh reaction from the IRCS on Twitter, dismissing the remarks as unfounded.

Moreover, the IRCS says that it has filed a complaint against Qassemi for his controversial comments.

IRGC denies

IRGC's spokesman, Ramazan Sharif, dismissing Qassemi's remarks 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," according to ISNA.

An hour after the IRGC statement, President Hassan Rouhani's office also dismissed Qassemi's remarks, saying that his claims help "the enemy".

Qassemi's remarks come just days after the U.S. State Department listed the IRGC as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization," accusing it of supporting militant groups around the world.

The Iranian Red Crescent has also officially dismissed Qassemi's claims and has threatened to sue him. "If an individual or a state entity has used the logo or uniform of the IRCS for operations against the aims and principles of the International Red Cross Society, it definitely happened without the permission of the IRCS or in coordination with it," IRCS announced.
Last Modified: Thursday، 18 April 2019 10:44 PM
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