Iran might allow Russia to resume use of Iranian military bases on “a case by case basis” for airstrikes in Syria.
“Russia doesn’t have a military base, we have good cooperation, and on a case by case basis, when it is necessary for Russians fighting terrorism to use Iranian facilities, we will make a decision,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Moscow on Tuesday.
Last August, Russia announced that its warplanes — including Tu22-33M “Backfire” long-range bombers and Su-34 tactical bombers — had used the Hamedan base in western Iran to carry out bombing. Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said the Russians could fly missions from Hamedan “for as long as they need”.
However, a backlash inside Iran led officials to deny any permanent arrangement and to say that the use of Hamedan was “temporary, based on a Russian request”. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said the base had only been for “refueling” and not for stationing of the bombers.
Last month the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Council, Ali Shamkhani, hinted at a renewed discussion of the arrangments, saying Russia continues to use Iran’s airspace as part of a “strategic cooperation” between the two countries.
Zarif’s announcement came amid a high-profile visit by President Hassan Rouhani for talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Both men hailed a fight against “terrorism” and a promotion of “regional stability”.
TOP PHOTO: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani at the Kremlin on Tuesday