Iranian lawmakers are publicly praising a senior Guard commander for his work fighting the militant Islamic State group.

The semi-official Fars news agency is reporting that 208 parliamentarians issued a statement Sunday thanking Maj. Gen. Ghasem Soleimani for his role in establishing security in the region.

Soleimani, commander of the guard's powerful and secretive Quds Force, has achieved legendary status for his work in Iraq in particular. He is credited with helping the Iraqi military forces and allied Shiite and Kurdish militias win some of their first major victories against the Islamic State group. Iran openly admits that senior commanders like Soleimani are acting in an advisory role battling Sunni militants in both Iraq and Syria. But the government consistently denies the presence of Iranian combat troops in either country.