Russia reportedly uses Iran’s air base only to refuel its long-range strategic bombers

18/08/2016 10:44
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, August 18, 2016, Asia-Plus -- Russia is using a western Iranian airbase only to refuel its long-range strategic bombers striking Daesh terrorist group targets in Syria, a senior Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Wednesday. 

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who is the head of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said on August 17 that Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) had given permission to Russia to use the air base.

"There is no stationing of Russian forces in the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Boroujerdi said as quoted by Iran’s Tasnim news agency.  

“Flying Russian jets from the Nojeh air base (in Hamadan) is in compliance with the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC)’s ratification and within the quadrilateral cooperation framework among Iran, Russia, Iraq, and Syria,” Boroujerdi said, according to Tehran Times.  

He also stressed that Iran only provides fueling services to the Russian squadron in the Iranian airbase and this is in line with the anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries.

While some Iranian officials have strongly backed the new addition to already strong Russian-Iranian bonds, some others have come to censure it, seeing it in breach of the Iranian Constitution.

“The deployment of Russian jets in the Martyr Nojeh air base should be considered in the light of Article 146 of the Constitution…,” said Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of the national security committee of the Iran’s parliament.

Under the article, no foreign army is allowed deployment in the Iranian soil even for peaceful purposes.

However, an amendment to the principle gives the leeway to the SNSC to act differently just in case, Tehran Times reports.

Iran’s PressTV reports that the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, said on August 17 that Russia does not have a permanent military base in Iran, but stressed that Iran has “good cooperation with Russia and we say that loud and clear.”

Larijani added that the Iranian Constitution bans any foreign forces from having a military base in the country.

Hossein Kanani Moghadam, a former commander in Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, told the Associated Press (AP) that Russia's use of the Iranian air base “doesn't mean that Nojeh is a Russian air base.  Iran just lets them land there and refuel their aircraft, and everything is under the control of Iranians there.”

Recall that Russia's TV Channel Rossiya 24 reported on August 16 that Russia has deployed Tupolev-22 bombers to an air base in the Iranian city of Hamadan where they will carry out air strikes against militants in Syria. 

Tu-22М3 long range bombers and SU-34 strike fighters flying from Hamadan airbase in Western Iran struck targets near Aleppo, Dier ez Zor and Idlib on Tuesday morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Fighter escorts for the mission flew out of Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in western Syria. All aircraft returned to their respective bases after the mission, the ministry said.

Iranian officials confirmed that the country has offered Russia use of military infrastructure for its air campaign in Syria on Tuesday.

“Cooperation between Tehran and Moscow against terrorism in Syria is of a strategic character. We must unite out potential and capabilities,” Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told Iran’s IRNA news agency in an interview.         

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