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Iran Daily: Regime Steps Back on Russian Use of Airbase for Syrian Operations

Iran Daily: Regime Steps Back on Russian Use of Airbase for Syrian Operations
August 21
08:31 2016

PHOTO: Claimed image of a Russian long-range bomber at a base in western Iran


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Facing criticism from MPs, Iran’s regime has stepped back from full public agreement to Russian use of an Iranian airbase for operations in northern Syria.

Russian Tu22-33M “Backfire” long-range bombers and Su-34 tactical bombers began operations from the Hamedan base last Monday. Iranian officials — including the Secretary of the National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani — indicated that the agreement was part of an Iranian-Russian “strategic cooperation” in the region.

However, 20 MPs — most of them conservatives — filed a protest that the Russian use of the base violated the Islamic Republic’s Constitution, which prohibits any foreign military presence in the country. Speaker Ali Larijani had to insist, “Iran and Russia enjoy close views on the solution to the crisis of terrorism in the region and [have] close cooperation, but no military base has been granted to Russia or any other country at all.”

On Saturday, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan tried again to redefine the position. He indicated that the Russian warplanes were not “deployed” at the Hamedan base. Instead, they were merely using it as a “stopover”.

While trying to ease internal criticism, Dehghan maintained the firm line over intervention behind Syria’s Assad regime:

[Russia and Iran are [fighting instability and insecurity, the establishment of peace and security, and the eradication of terrorism in the region].

We will keep up the cooperation until the attainment of the intended goals.

The Defense Minister also tried to justify Russian attacks on opposition-held territory in northern Syria, as well as the nominal targets of the Islamic State and the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra.

The West is of the opinion that only Daesh [the Islamic State] should be confronted in Syria as a terror group, but we believe that all those groups that operate to cause instability in the [Arab] country are terrorist and should be confronted.


Supreme Leader: Our “Revolutionary Islam” Has Paralyzed US

The Supreme Leader has used a speech on World Mosque Day to again declare the Islamic Republic’s victory over America:

While proclaiming triumph, Ayatollah Khamenei also warned that Iran’s enemies are content with a “secular Islam” rather than the “revolutionary” version promoted by the Islamic Republic.

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About Author

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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2 Comments

  1. Barbar
    Barbar August 21, 10:30

    Content of story does not support the title — a small group of Iranian parliamentarians engage in tiff over semantics, but the government in no way has resiled from its position that RuAF should use their airbase in pursuit of the common goal in Syria.

    Reply to this comment
    • Scott Lucas
      Scott Lucas Author August 21, 12:42

      Sorry, but Dehghan’s “no deployment” line is a step back from the initial regime commitment — although it may be just rhetoric, with Russian warplanes still effectively stationed at the base.

      Reply to this comment

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