Russian Warplanes Set to Return to Hamadan 'in Due Time or Even Earlier'

© AP Photo / WarfareWWIn this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, A Russian Tu-22M3 bomber stands on the tarmac at an air base near Hamedan, Iran.
In this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, A Russian Tu-22M3 bomber stands on the tarmac at an air base near Hamedan, Iran. - Sputnik International
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Iran will most likely allow Russia to use its Hamadan airfield to launch airstrikes against radical groups fighting in Syria since both countries are "bound to have a mutually beneficial" relationship, Vladimir Komoedov, former commander of the Black Sea Fleet, told the newspaper Izvestiya.

Relations between Moscow and Tehran are "strategic" in their nature, he added.

"I cannot count how many times Iran has lately demonstrated how close its relations with Russia are. Take Tehran's decision to allow Moscow to use its airspace for Kalibr missile launches," the head of the State Duma's Committee on Defense observed.

For its part, Russia did not turn away from Iran when the country was struggling under heavy sanctions. Komoedov described this period as a "dead season" in terms of international relations for Iran.

"We are bound to have mutually beneficial cooperation," he noted. "With regard to specific issues, including Hamadan, it is a sensitive matter. Everything will happen in due time or even a little bit earlier."

Last week, Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range strategic bombers and Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighters carried out several counterterrorist missions from Hamadan, an airbase in northwestern Iran. The warplanes fulfilled their task and were deployed back to Russia, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Monday.

The Russian air group at the Hmeymim airfield in Syria. file photo - Sputnik International
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A source close to Iranian diplomatic circles told Izvestiya that Iranian authorities have not reached an agreement on the exact terms under which Russia will receive access to the Hamadan airfield.

The issue generated debate within Iranian political circles, political analyst Hossein Ruivaran told the newspaper. The discussion revolved around Article 146 of the Iranian constitution that does not allow a foreign nation to establish a military base in the country.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said that the decision to allow Russia to use the Hamadan airfield did not violate the law because Moscow did not intend to create a military facility there, but was instead using it mainly for refueling. Ali Larijani, the current chairman of the Iranian parliament, said as much on Tuesday, emphasizing that the base was not used for permanent deployment.

First group of Russian Aerospace Force aircraft redeploys from Hmeimim to Russia - Sputnik International
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Russia did not plan to acquire a military base in Iran, Russian ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan told the Tasnim news agency. "The presence of Russian aircraft at the Hamadan base was temporary and the deployment was approved by high-ranking Iranian officials, namely the Supreme National Security Council," he added.

Dzhagaryan further said that a similar step could be taken in the future if both Moscow and Tehran find it necessary. 

However, Izvestiya was confident that Russian bombers will take off from Iran to strike terrorists in Syria.

"Russian aircraft will clearly return to the Hamadan base as soon as the hype generated by the issue subsides. After all, the Russian Airspace Forces used the airfield before and it did not cause discontent in Iran," the newspaper noted.

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