Russia stops using Iran base for air raids in Syria

Aug 23, 2016, 3:57 AM EDT
(Source: zaphad1/flickr)
(Source: zaphad1/flickr)

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday that Russia has stopped using the Hamadan base for carrying out air strikes in Syria. Russian defense ministry claimed that the strikes from the Iranian base successfully completed all tasks, adding that further use of the airfield would depend on the prevailing circumstances in Syria.

Russia's ambassador to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan said that all Russian planes have left Iran, adding that similar operations are possible in future if the two countries reach the relevant agreements. The announcement came a day after Iran's Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan criticized Russia for “showing off” and “ungentlemanly” publicizing the operation, writes Al Jazeera.

Critics believe that a divide in the Iranian leadership might have resulted in the abrupt end of the operation. Tehran’s decision to allow a foreign power to use its air base drew sharp criticism within the country as well as from the White House. Responding to the critics, Dehghan said that the “operational cooperation” between Iran and Russia was temporary and limited to refueling.

The U.S. State Department, which earlier called the move “unfortunate but not surprising,” remained skeptical, saying that it is “unclear” if Moscow's use of the base had "definitively stopped," reports Reuters