Confirmed: Russian warplanes using bases in Iran for strikes on Syria

Published August 18th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
Iranian soldiers from the Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade last month in Tehran. (AFP/File)
Iranian soldiers from the Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade last month in Tehran. (AFP/File)

A top Iranian lawmaker confirmed on Wednesday that Russian warplanes are using an airbase on its territory, as Moscow announced it conducted another airstrike in Syria with jets that took off from Iran.

The operations have been authorized by Iran's Supreme National Security Council and are based on a deal between Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq, the head of parliament's national security committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said in comments carried by Iranian state news agency IRNA.

He specified that the jets were using the Nojeh airbase in Iran's western Hamadan province to refuel. Hamadan is much closer to positions of the Daesh extremist group than the base Russia had previously been using, Khmeimim, in coastal northern Syria.

"The matter should be considered a strategic and necessary cooperation in the fight against terrorism," said former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, who is currently a foreign policy consultant to Iran's supreme leader.

The cooperation isn't in violation of UN resolutions and has been approved by Syria, he added.

Earlier, the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani, denied that Russian warplanes were using Iranian territory, as the United States claimed such operations could violate a UN resolution.

Russia attested on Wednesday that its use of the Iranian airbase does not violate UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which forbids the supply, sale or transfer of combat aircraft to Iran without prior approval.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner had previously said Russia might be violating the resolution by using Iranian territory to launch airstrikes in Syria.

Russia and Iran are longtime allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia and the US support opposing sides in Syria but agree on the need to eliminate UN-designated "terrorist" groups, such as Daesh.

Russia's Defence Ministry said Wednesday that Su-34 warplanes took off from the Iranian airbase and conducted an airstrike against Islamic State targets in the Syrian province of Deir al-Zour.

The attack hit two Daesh command points and large training camps, "eliminating more than 150 militants," the ministry said in comments carried by TASS.

On Tuesday, Russian warplanes used an Iranian airbase for the first time for military actions in Syria, TASS reported.

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