Accessibility links

Iran Says Russia’s Use Of Air Base Has Ended 'For Now'

  • RFE/RL

Iranian Defense Minister General Hossein Dehghan

Iranian Defense Minister General Hossein Dehghan

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says Russia’s use of a military base in Hamadan for striking targets in Syria has ended for now.

Foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi made the announcement in an August 22 news briefing.

"Russia has no base in Iran and is not stationed here. They conducted this [operation] and it is finished for now," Ghasemi was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Tasnim news agency.

Ghasemi added that Russia's use of the base was "temporary, based on a Russian request."

He reiterated that Russia "has no base in Iran."

The Interfax news agency on August 22 quoted Russia's ambassador to Tehran, Levan Dzhagaryan, as confirming that all of Moscow's warplanes have been withdrawn from Iran.

Dzhagaryan said, however, that he does "not see any reason" why the Russians can't use the Iranian base again.

Reacting to the news, the U.S. State Department said it was not clear whether Russian use of the base actually had stopped.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a briefing the United States was 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."

Earlier, Iran's defense minister criticized Russia for publicizing its use of the Iranian base for attacks in Syria, saying it was "kind of show off and ungentlemanly."

Iran state TV quoted General Hossein Dehghan on August 22 as saying that the "Russians seek to show that they are a superpower."

Dehghan's comments come amid a pushback from Tehran after Russia last week started using an Iranian base to launch air strikes in Syria.

Iranian officials have said that Russian planes were refueling at the Shahid Nojeh air base near Hamadan. They said the move was part of a “strategic cooperation” with Russia.

Tehran and Moscow are supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom they have helped remain in power.

Based on reporting by Tasnim and AP