Sortie aircraft videoconferencing in Syria with Iranian Hamadan air base, August 16, 2016.
On Monday, Russia and Iran announced that Russia’s use of Iranian Hamadan air base at this stage, discontinued. “Continued use of aircraft of Russian air force air base in Hamadan in the Islamic Republic of Iran will be carried out on the basis of mutual agreements on combating terrorism and, depending on the prevailing situation in Syria,” — said the official defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov on Monday. All the planes, he said, are on the territory of Russia (quoted by “Interfax”).
Russian military aircraft no longer uses Iranian Hamadan air base, said the official representative of the foreign Ministry of Iran Bahram Qasimi on Monday at a press conference.
Both parties ‘ official statements on Monday emphasized that cooperation does not end and may be continued.
“The desire to show off”
The news about the termination of Russia’s use of the airbase was preceded by a statement by the defense Minister of Iran Hossein Dehghani, which has criticized Russia for establishing cooperation publicity. The decision to talk about using databases in the media without coordination with Iran was motivated by “a desire to show off,” said the Minister. “Of course, the Russians want to show that they are a superpower and influential country that they actively behave in the sphere of security in the region and in the world,” the Minister said in his interview to government’s “Second channel” to Iran (quoted by BBC). “Disclosure of this information is seen as disrespect and a desire to show off,” said Dehgan.
Russian strategic bombers Tu-22M3 and multifunctional su-34 arrived at the base Hamadan on August 16. The presence of the first said portal to the Syrian Al-Masdar News. After this story about the military missions was shown by TV channel “Russia 2”. The official reports of the Russian Ministry of defense base at Hamadan was called the place home. No mention of the term of the agreements with Tehran, the Russian defense Ministry did not. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu public comment is not allowed.
Respondents RBC experts stress that initially, the parties did not discuss publicly the permanent stationing of Russian aircraft in Iran. However, the Russian policy in his comments admitted that the cooperation will be long-term. The Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security Viktor Ozerov said that the Federation Council is ready to ratify the agreement with Iran on the location of the air group of the Russian Armed forces at an air base in Hamadan, if the document is received. “By analogy with the ratification of the agreement with Syria about the deployment of our air group ratification of the agreement with Iran may require. The Federation Council, I think this decision is ready,” said the Senator, “RIA Novosti”.
“The tone in which Iran announced the break-up, quite insulting to Russia, so I am inclined to think that continued cooperation will not be here,” — says researcher of the Institute of Oriental studies Gregory Melamed.
“Third force” and internal causes
Iranian officials during the week made several statements in which he drew attention to the fact that Russia’s use of the airbase is not contrary to the Constitution, which prohibits deployment of foreign air bases. The speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani explained that there is no contradiction, as Iran is not transferred to the Russian base and Russia only used her.
According to The Wall Street Journal, politicians taken a defensive tone reflects concern about how to use military capabilities of the country by foreign governments. In particular, this issue was raised by MP Heshmatollah Falahatpishe. Tehran for the first time since the Second world war provided a military base to a foreign state.
The General Director of the Center for the study of modern Iran Rajab Safarov also drew attention to the ensuing domestic political debate in Iran, in particular dissatisfaction with the provision of base on the part of conservatives.
Dissatisfaction with the use of the airport Express and the United States. The official U.S. state Department spokesman mark Toner said Russia’s use of the database may violate the resolution of the UN Security Council 2231 adopted to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov retorted that there were no reasons to suspect Russia of violating resolutions of the UN Security Council 2231 is not available. “In this case, neither the delivery nor sale or transfer of military aircraft to Iran will not happen”, — he said at a press conference in Moscow.
The impact of the US situation I am sure Senator Franz Klintsevich. “20 August, the Minister of defense of Iran Dehgan said that Moscow could use it as long as you see fit. Today, the Iranian side announced the termination of Russia’s use of this base,” the Senator quoted his press service. In his opinion, Iran could affect the “third force” — the USA.
Iran’s decision is not motivated by pressure from third countries, Iran is not afraid, I’m sure Safarov. However, by offering their infrastructure, Iran runs the risk of opposition to the Arab Gulf countries, deterioration of relations with the West, risking the process of lifting the sanctions.
On the foreign policy risks of Iran indicates and the Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS countries Vladimir Evseev: on the background of such close cooperation with Russia, Tehran would be more difficult to build relations with Saudi Arabia.
Russian aircraft used the base for departures for three days, the Ministry of defense: August 18, strikes were long-range bombers Tu-22M3 and front-line su-34 bombers that took off from airbases on the territory of Russia and Iran, on 16 and 17 August the Russian space forces launched a missile and bomb strikes on the objects is prohibited in Russia LIH with the use of su-34.
Strategic bombers were used by Russia in the Syrian conflict, but the frequency of flights was low compared to the front-line bombers su-24 and su-34. Tu-22M3, posted on the airfield in Mozdok, Republic of North Ossetia, overcame more than 2 thousand kilometers to target. “They were flying with less combat load,” explains military analyst Anton Lavrov. According to experts, change of home base has reduced the distance to the target, which allowed the bombers to take more bombs on the flight. Head of the St. Petersburg centre of studying of the modern Near East Gumer Isaev notes that it is not quite clear how all the strategic aircraft are effective against a decentralized enemy.
According to military expert Viktor Litovkin, the base Hamadan was used by the Russian VKS as airfields. It is a transit point between the point of discharge and the point of departure, the expert explains. According to Litovkin, the use of the airfield East of Syria, as well as the ability to run in the airspace of Iran’s cruise missiles was given to the Russian command to quickly increase the intensity of the bombing and strikes. “The task is complete, the aircraft returned to Russia”, — sums up the expert. According to him, the continuous use of base was unprofitable in the first place to the Russian side, because the maintenance of aircraft in the territory of another state costs money.
Melamed believes that Hamadan is a big loss for Russia, first and foremost, from a military point of view. “Hamim base in Syria could not provide the intensity of the action of our aircraft, which is necessary in connection with the General deterioration of the situation”, — the expert believes. He also questioned the possibility of launching cruise missiles from the Caspian sea through Iranian airspace. Way out one, the expert concludes, is to offer Iran benefits during block Turkey — Russia — Iran.