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Hamadan Base Deepens Iranian Uncertainty | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Still image shows airstrikes carried out by Russian air force in Syria. Photo: Reuters

London-Iran sank on Tuesday in a deep internal uncertainty regarding the Russian use of the Hamadan base to launch air raids against Syria.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani asserted that Oram has continued to allow Russian warplanes to fly to Syria from one of its western airbases, denying official comments that Russian jets had ended the use of the Hamadan base.

However, hours after Larijani’s comments, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, confirmed what Tehran and Moscow had announced on Monday: Russia had now stopped using the base for strikes in Syria.

Larijani said Russian flights have not been halted, adding: “Iran is in alliance with Russia in its campaign in Syria and in its battle against terrorism for the interest of Muslims.”

However, Shamkhani replied: “The jets are not anymore in Iran.”

Uncertainty was also the master position in Moscow, where fears emanated about the renewal of conflicts between Russia and Iran over the military operations in Syria.

Iran has entered a cycle of uncertain and contradictory comments since the disclosure of photos showing Russian rockets in the Hamadan base.

However, the Russian Kommersant newspaper published an extensive report about the issue, quoting a source at the military command as saying: “The Russian jets’ use of the Hamadan base had played a leading role in the support offered by the Russian air force to the Syrian forces in the provinces of Aleppo, Deir Ezzor and Idlib.”

The source added: “However, a misunderstanding emerged between both parties,” without clarifying the type and nature of the quarrel.

“Russian military has wanted to use the Hamadan airbase not only as a stage airfield, but also as a full-fledged military facility with deployment of respective arsenals. However, Teheran did not accept,” the source told Kommersant.

Larijani had said earlier that the presence of the Russian jets in an Iranian military base is temporary and only for refueling purposes.

Larijani was trying to limit the repercussions of comments made by Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, who had said the decision about halting the Russian use of the air base came from the highest regime authorities.

The speaker said: “It is essential to warn the defense minister not to speak against the Parliament.”