TEHRAN, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Iranian officials confirmed Friday that General Qassem Soleimani, the heavily sanctioned Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander, traveled to Russia in July to discuss future weapons deals, including the purchase of the S-300 missile system.
According to a FOX News exclusive report, Soleimani arrived in Moscow on Iran Air flight 5130 from Tehran on July 24. This was ten days after the nuclear agreement was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group -- the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China. As part of the nuclear agreement, Russia insisted the provision to lift an arms embargo on the Islamic Republic be provided.
Soleimani met with President Vladimir Putin and Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu. Russia announced in June that it would send S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran in 2016, CNN reported.
Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Arms Committee on July 29 that "under the United States' initiative, Qassem Soleimani will never be relieved of any sanctions." The Iranian has been blamed for the deaths of 500 Americans in Iraq, and is also suspected of orchestrating the failed assassination attempt on the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States at Cafe Milano, an upscale restaurant in Washington, D.C.
"We should not underestimate what this means to our national security," Mike Rogers, former chairman of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee, told FOX News on Friday. "A leading general in Iran just told the world that the United States of America is irrelevant and Russia welcomed him with open arms. Not only do Russia and Iran not fear us, they do not respect us. And that, is dangerous."
The White House did not confirm that Soleimani traveled to Russia in July.
"I can't confirm these specific reports but it's an indication of our ongoing concerns with Iran and their behavior,"Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters Friday.