Iran rebukes Russkies for ‘showing off’, blocks use of air base

by WorldTribune Staff, August 22, 2016

In a rare public rebuke of Moscow, Iran on Aug. 22 said Russia was “showing off” when it announced it was using an Iranian air base to conduct bombing runs in Syria.

“Naturally, the Russians are keen to show that they are a superpower and an influential country and that they are active in security issues in the region and the world,” Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan told Iran’s Channel 2 television.

Russian Su-34. /TASS via Getty Images
Russian Su-34. /TASS via Getty Images

“There has been a kind of showing-off and inconsiderate attitude behind the announcement of this news,” he said.

Moscow’s ambassador to Teheran, Levan Dzhagaryan, said on Aug. 22 that all Russian planes have left Iran’s air base in Hamedan but that nothing prevents them from using it again in the future.

“There are no reasons to worry. If the leaders of our two countries consider it necessary and reach the relevant agreements, what sort of problems can there be?” he told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

“For the time being, there are no (Russians) remaining in Hamedan” airbase, he added.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters in Teheran that Russia’s use of the Hamedan base “was a specific, authorized mission and it’s over for now. They conducted it and they are gone now,” adding the possibility of future Russian combat flights from the Islamic Republic would depend on “the situation in the region, and according to our permission.”

Iran has emphasized that Russian planes were only refueling at the Hamedan base.

“(Russia) needed to refuel in an area closer to the operation. That’s why they used the Nojeh base (in Hamedan) but we have definitely not given them a military base,” said Dehghan.

The flights from Iranian territory started on Aug. 16.