Where is Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani?


IRGC Quds Force Commander MG Qassem Suleimani addresses a martyrs ceremony, Pishva, Iran, September 2, 2013.

Article Highlights

  • The dearth of coverage of one the Islamic Republic's most powerful and revered security officials is highly unusual.

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  • Where is Suleimani?

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  • There are a few possibilities as to why Iran's media has not published photos of Suleimani's presence.

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The Iranian media's coverage of Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani's purported speech on "regional events" in front of the Assembly of Experts has been remarkably limited. Qassem Suleimani oversees Iran's regional security policy and commands the military force that is supporting Bashar al-Assad in the Syria war. This dearth of coverage of one the Islamic Republic's most powerful and revered security officials discussing critical and timely events is highly unusual.

Suleimani was scheduled to address the 14th Assembly of Experts (AE) meeting in Tehran on September 3. By the end of the day, Iran's various official and semi-official media outlets only published one report covering Suleimani's speech, published verbatim by all outelts. In this report, AE member Hassan Mamdouhi states that Suleimani did in fact address this meeting, and gave "good details about Lebanon and Syria." Mamdouhi also paraphrases Suleimani as having said, "Regarding conditions in Syria, the people of this country are victorious against America, and Syria is successful." The next day, Iranian media published another single report (verbaitm by all outlets reporting) quoting an unnamed AE member paraphrasing Suleimani's speech at greater length. Iran's media, however, has published no photos of Suleimani's appearance. In contrast, when Suleimani addressed a similar AE meeting two years ago, Iranian media published photos of his speech (the photograph has since been pulled offline, but the original report remains in place). There are numerous photos of this year's meeting available online showing other senior regime officials, including former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, current President Hassan Rouhani, and Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, indicating that journalists were present for at least a portion of the event. Where is Suleimani?

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