MOSCOW, Nov. 30 (UPI) — Russia is considering using Iran’s Hamadan airbase to launch airstrikes on insurgents in Syria if its aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, leaves Syria’s coastline on the Mediterranean for a new mission, Russian and Iranian officials said.
“The necessity to use the airfield of the airbase in Hamadan could emerge if Admiral Kuznetsov carries out another operation and [Russia] will not be able to use it for airstrikes against terrorists in Syria,” Viktor Ozerov on Saturday told RIA Novosti,, Russia’s state-operated international news agency
Earlier in the day, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Iran might allow Russia to use Hamadan in its air operation against militants in Syria.
Hossein Sheikholeslam, an adviser to Iran’s foreign minister, repeated the offer Tuesday, saying: “If the situation demands it, like it did in August, we’re ready to allow Russian warplanes to take off and refuel at this airfield.”
Iran allowed Russia to operate from the base in mid-August. The jets returned to Russia after completing their anti-terror mission one week later.
Iran became uneasy about the situation because the Iranian constitution prohibits the presence of any foreign forces on Iranian soil.
The New York Times reported Iran thought Russia was too public about the privilege.
“I’d like to emphasize that Iran never gave to Russia full control over the Noje base in Hamadan. This airbase belongs to Iran and all activities at the base are controlled by Tehran,” Sheikholeslam said.
The Russian Aerospace Forces began their operation in Syria on Sept. 30, 2015, at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s request.