Iran played a major role leading up to Russia’s move to launch airstrikes in Syria and strengthen its presence in Iraq, two Iraqi government officials told The Associated Press.

The head of Iran’s Quds Force, the elite extra-territorial special forces arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Qassem Soleimani visited Moscow in August to meet with President Vladimir Putin despite being banned from travelling by the UN, the senior officials said under conditions of anonymity. The visit was a ...

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