Former Iranian adviser Qasem Soleimani said a Russian officer in Syria had already given Chief Quds 100 Krasnopol guided artillery shells as a gift.
In an article published by the Fars news agency, a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Friday [Dec. 31], Hassan Ravandeh, told stories about the life and “charismatic” character of the commander killed in homage to the second anniversary of his assassination.
Ravandeh, who was identified by Fars as one of the IRGC’s Quds Force (Quds) advisers, is said to have accompanied Soleimani on his missions and trips to the region. He recently published a book on his memoir of the IRGC’s Most High-ranking Man Abroad.
Hassan Ravandeh who spoke with the Fars news agency.
He said Soleimani was very popular among other servicemen active in the region, adding that he used to bring keepsakes to the families of everyone he was involved with. He singled out an anonymous Russian commander who was stationed in the Syrian port city of Latakia and who particularly liked the Iranian commander.
According to the article, Soleimani bought a necklace for his wife and gold jewelry for his daughters before visiting them in Latakia. Surprised by the gifts, the Russian asked how he could return the gesture, and Soleimani reportedly demanded that they sell him around 1,000 Krasnopol laser-guided artillery shells.
Ravandeh says the Russian commander, who he says is now the head of the Russian military‘s aerospace force, gave Soleimani 100 projectiles because they only had 140 available in their arsenal. He added that Russia had never asked for money in exchange for such a gift, which he said was worth around $ 7 million.
The Krasnopol artillery system which guides an observer-controlled laser shell with pinpoint accuracy.
Soleimani was killed in a drone attack in the United States ordered by former President Donald Trump in January 2020, as he arrived at Baghdad airport from Syria. He was the main Iranian military and intelligence operator in the Middle East, organizing proxy forces.
Soleimani played a major role in the Syrian civil war as coordinator of Iran’s military involvement, including sending tens of thousands of regular and irregular forces to fight in support of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad .
In June 2014, Iranian news agency Tasnim in a report cited the ground forces of General Mohammad Pakpour IRGC as saying that the Revolutionary Guard artillery force improved its capabilities by deploying guided shells from Krasnopol.
It is not clear whether Pakpour’s announcement was related to Soleimani’s gift exchange with the Russian commander in Syria. Russia was still not officially involved in the war in Syria in 2014, but it most likely had a military mission to aid Assad’s forces. Russia entered the war in force in September 2015.
It is also possible that Russia already provided the artillery shells before Soleimani asked for more from Syria. But whether in 2014 or later, any Russian transfer of shells from Krasnopol would have violated a United Nations arms embargo against Iranimplemented in 2007, which expired in October 2020, well after Pakpour’s declaration or Soleimani’s death.