Iran mulls Russian use of airbase for Syria strikes

Iran mulls Russian use of airbase for Syria strikes
Russian warplanes briefly conducted operations over Syria from the Hamadan base in Western Iran in August. Iran's defence minister has said this could become a permanent arrangement
2 min read
26 November, 2016
Russia has plans to expand its military presence in the Mediterranean and Middle East [Getty]
Russian war planes could use Iran as a launch pad for air strikes on rebels in Syria, following an announcement by Tehran that it might welcome a fixed presence in the country from Moscow's armed forces.

Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said on Saturday that Iranian authorities were considering allowing Russia to use the Hamadan airbase in western Iran.

"If the situation and conditions [in Syria] demand to provide the support, we will do this job," Dehghan, was reported to have said by the Tasnim news agency.  

Iran briefly permitted Russia to operate from Hamadan in mid-August for a week-long period.

Tehran has also expressed interest in purchasing Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker fighter jets from Moscow. 

A number of Iranian military figures have visited Moscow this year to discuss potential purchases aimed at upgrading the Iranian airforces capabilities.

Both countries are firm backers of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and have deployed military personnel to Syria to support the regime.

Damascus has been embroiled in a six-year civil war that has cost 400,000 lives, the vast majority caused by regime bombing. 

In recent weeks Russia has announced plans to expand its military presence in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions, with plans to expand pre-existing naval and air force facilities in the coastal Latakia province of western Syria. 

Iranian and Russian-backed troops have been acused of violations of international law and war crimes in Syria, while over 1,000 Iranian-sponsored combatants are said to have died in Syria.

Moscow's aerial campaigns over the war-torn country have resulted in thousands of civilian casualties.