Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehghan signed an agreement to expand military ties in Tehran Iran. Jan. 2015. Photo: Russian Defense Ministry
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan confirmed on Saturday that Russian warplanes have been using an airbase near the Western city of Hamadan, adding that it is part of an agreement with Moscow and Damascus and that if necessary a second airbase could be put at Russia’s disposal.
Dehghan told a group of Iranian reporters that the Russians were using the airbase near Hamadan “based on general policies of the state and a decree from the supreme national security council,”
The Iranian defense minister said that parliament did not have any say on the subject and that the use of the air base by Russia had come to pass on the demand of the Syrian government.
“The use of the airbase by Russia has nothing to do with the parliament,” he said. “If someone has, from ignorance, concluded that we have given the airbase to the Russians then they are wrong, because we have not done that and this was done by a decree from the supreme national security council.”
This is the first time a high level Iranian official speaks of the use of the Hamadan airbase by Russian jets since the news came out late last week.
Dehghan said the base is used “to target gatherings, bases and activities of terrorists,”
The Iranian defense minister went on to tell reporters that if need be, Iran can put at the disposal of the Russian a second airbase.
The Russian defense ministry confirmed the use of the air base near Hamadan last week, and announced on Tuesday that Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers taking off from the base had bombed Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.