The representative of a pro-Iran Shiite armed militia in Iraq has announced that members of the group are in Iran to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Abbas Mousavi who represents the Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (Movement of the Party of God's Nobles) militia group in Iraq confirmed the presence of its members in the religious city of Qom, Iran’s Tasnim news agency close to the Revolutionary Guard reported on April 19.
Iran finances and supports several militia groups in Iraq that it uses to expand its influence in the neighboring country. They have attacked American forces repeatedly and have been targeted by retaliatory U.S. operations.
Mousavi told Tasnim members of his group “distributed 100 food baskets in the poor neighborhoods of Qom, as well as 400 kilos of honey to patients and hospital staff”.
Photos also show the group running car disinfections sheds in the city. It is not clear how effective the disinfection of open-air areas and cars is in stopping the virus.
Earlier, photos were published showing other Iraq militia groups and members of the Lebanese Hezbollah disinfecting streets in Qom.
Last year when unprecedented floods hit Iran, militias from Iraq were allowed to come to help with the disaster, but some Iranians charged the real reason for their presence was to help put down any possible protests by citizens.
A member of Iran's parliament has said that the presence of foreign groups in Iran without the explicit agreement of the presidential administration and parliament is a violation of the Constitution.