MP Backs Russia Use of Hamedan Air Base

MP Backs Russia Use of Hamedan Air BaseMP Backs Russia Use of Hamedan Air Base

A reformist lawmaker said he supports the renewal of Russia's use of an Iranian air base to hit targets in Syria, as fighting terrorists operating in the region is in the interest of both countries.

In mid-August, Russia's Defense Ministry announced that its long-range Tupolev-22M3 bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers were flying from the Nojeh air base, near the western city of Hamedan, to launch strikes against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and other terrorists fighting to topple the Syrian government.

The jets returned to Russia a week later, after completing their anti-terror mission.

Lawmaker Jalal Mirzaei told ICANA on Sunday that Tehran and Moscow are fighting on one front against terrorism in Syria.

"We have many common interests in Syria with Russia. They are opposed to IS presence and growth in the region, just like us," he said.

Late August, Iranian officials said they will allow Russian jets to fly from Nojeh airfield again, if the need arises, rejecting claims that it may be a breach of Iran's Constitution.

  No Constitutional Violation

Some lawmakers had expressed concern at the time that allowing the use of Iranian bases to another country can be a violation of the law, according to which no foreign country can have a military base inside Iran.

Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan said Iran has not allowed Russia to establish an air base on its territory and Tehran has only temporarily shared its facilities.

Mirzaei said controversies over Russia's use of an Iranian air base should have been avoided.

"If we expect a strong battle against terrorism, we should not be too sensitive about such issues, as they may damage cooperation," he said.

On Saturday, Dehqan reiterated that if necessary, Iran will once again allow Russian jets to fly from the key Hamedan air base.

Later in the day, Viktor Ozerov, the chairman of the Russian upper house of parliament's defense committee, said Russia may need to use Iran's Hamedan air base in case the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier used for anti-terror strikes in Syria moves away from the Syrian borders for a new mission.

"The necessity to use the airfield of the air base in Hamedan could emerge if Admiral Kuznetsov carries out another operation, and [Russia] will not be able to use it for airstrikes against terrorists in Syria," he told RIA Novosti.

Syria has been the scene of a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.

Russia's aerial support for Syrian forces started in September 2015 and Iran has been providing the Syrian Army with advisory services since the early months of the conflict.


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