A senior Iraqi official has that Baghdad will welcome Iran’s controversial pick to be its next ambassador to Iraq. Earlier this month, the Iranian media reported that Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, a senior advisor to Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani, will be Iran’s next envoy to Iraq. The news drew criticism from Saudi officials. Thamer al-Sabhan, the Saudi minister of state for the Gulf region wrote on that “Iran appoints a war criminal and [one of the] world’s wanted men as its envoy in Iraq.”

But in a lengthy interview with Iranian state-run , Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayyad brushed aside Saudi criticism and stressed: “We welcome anyone Iran introduces as its ambassador. And we have very good memories of this person (Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad). He has played a significant role in supporting Iraq and has a jihadi record. He will definitely play and important role in elevating and expanding relations and defense [ties] between the two countries.” Al-Fayyad, who is also the chairman of the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF), thanked the Iranian government for its support to the Iraqi government and the PMF militias over the past years.

The Quds Force, a US-designated terrorist entity, is the secretive branch of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) that is responsible for external operations and trains and arms terrorist and sectarian groups across the Middle East. It is therefore no surprise regional Sunni states are concerned about Masjedi’s appointment to Iraq.