Reports that Russia has stopped using Iran base are challenged

by WorldTribune Staff, August 23, 2016

The U.S. State Department on Aug. 22 said that “it’s not clear” that Russian warplanes have stopped using an Iranian air base to carry out bombing runs in Syria.

Russian warplane at Hamedan air base in Iran. /AP via WarfareWW
Russian warplane at Hamedan air base in Iran. /AP via WarfareWW

Iran on Aug. 22 had insisted that Russia’s use of the base was finished “for now.” Teheran also accused Moscow of “showing off” by announcing its use of the Hamedan air base.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. is closely monitoring the cooperation between Russia and Iran and “it’s not clear to us … whether their (Moscow’s) use of this air base has definitively stopped,” according to Reuters.

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani on Aug. 23 suggested Russian warplanes are still using the Hamedan base.

“It hasn’t stopped,” he said, adding that Teheran and Moscow were united in their “fight against terrorism.”

Toner last week criticized Russia’s use of the Iranian base, though he acknowledged that Moscow gave a brief advance warning before conducting raids from the base.

The U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIL has since last year operated a “memorandum of understanding” with Russia, whereby the two military forces notify each other of flights during their separate bombing campaigns to avoid accidents in the skies over Syria.