A convoy of 50 vehicles has carried Iraqi Al-Nojaba and Hashd al-Sha’bi militias into Iran’s flood-hit western provinces, reported IRGC-linked Tasnim News agency on Sunday April 14.
Meanwhile the IRGC commander in Ilam province says a large convoy of Iraqi militia have arrived in the province. The commander, Jamal Shakarami, has characterized the Iraqi militia as an ally of the Islamic Republic.
Iranians on social media have been complaining why a country that has two armies, namely the IRGC and the conventional army, needs help from foreign militias for flood relief efforts.
According to Shakarami, a convoy of Al-Nojaba forces have arrived in Dehloran in Khuzestan Province.
Earlier, Iraj Masjedi, Iran’s ambassador in Baghdad told Iranian news agencies on Saturday that Hashd al-Sha’bi forces have been deployed to Khuzestan to help with flood relief. Masjedi said hundreds of Iraqi militia, including 200 on Friday, have arrived in Iran to help the flood-hit people in Khuzestan and Lorestan provinces in western Iran.
The Al-Nojaba movement has announced that its leader Haj Nasr al-Shemri is accompanying the units deployed in Khuzestan.
A Twitter user has published the arrival of one Iraqi convoy, saying “The Fascist Hasd al-Sha’bi entered Iran…”
— من عاشق ایرانم (@Honjo__Masamune) April 13, 2019
According to hardliner daily newspaper Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office, Hashd al-Sha’bi, Al-Nojaba and Afghan Fatemiyoun militia have arrived in Khuzestan at the invitation of IRGC’s Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.
In the meantime there has been strong protests on social media against foreign militia’s presence in Iran. Some have characterized the militia as occupying forces. Others maintain that they are in Iran to suppress possible protests.
— ایکییو خان (@ikkyukhan) April 13, 2019
The hashtag HashdalSha’bi in Persian is making the rounds on Twitter as many users say this is a sign how afraid the Islamic Republic is of rebellion by the people and some compare Iran’s Supreme Leader to former Libyan strongman Qaddafi in his last days.
The invitation by Soleimani follows a statement by Tehran Revolutionary Court Chairman Mousa Ghazanfarabadi, who said in Mid-March “If we do not help the Islamic Revolution, Iraqi Hashd al-Sha’bi, Afghan Fatemiyoun, Pakistani Zaynabioun and Yemeni Houthis will. These are Iran-backed militia groups in the region who have been fighting proxy wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen on Tehran’s behalf.
Meanwhile, Prince Reza Pahlavi, the heir to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who inspires part of the Iranian opposition, issued a statement saying that the Iraqi militia were in Iran to suppress dissent, otherwise the Iranian army is equipped with the machinery to cope with the flood and to serve the flood-hit people.
Still others such as twitter user Parhami have issued explicit threats against the militia, telling them to leave at once.
— Parhami (@Parhami__) April 13, 2019