“KNOW BETTER WITH MESOP” : Iranian MPs Object to Russia’s Use of Iranian Airbase for Syrian Operations

A group of Iranian MPs has objected to the agreement allowing Russia to use an airbase in western Iran for bombing across northern Syria. About 20 legislators called for a review of Moscow’s presence in a letter to Speaker Ali Larijani, requesting a closed session of Parliament. Mahmoud Sadeghi, a reformist MP, said the Majlis must “the necessary information regarding the reasons for this decision and its consequences.” Most of the signatories were conservatives — including Deputy Speaker Ali Motahari — although there were some reformists.

Soon after the agreement for Moscow’s use of the Hamedan base was revealed by Russian and Syrian State outlets on Tuesday, Larijani rebuffed criticism by MPs. He insisted that Russia had not taken control of the Hamedan complex: “Iran and Russia enjoy close views on the solution to the crisis of terrorism in the region and [have] close cooperation, but no military base has been granted to Russia or any other country at all.”

The head of Parliament’s National Security Committee tried a different line on Thursday, insisting that Moscow’s warplanes — including Tu22-33M “Backfire” long-range bombers and Su-34 tactical bombers — had not been deployed: “The only thing that happened is that the Russian aircraft were given permission during a flight to use this base for refueling.”

Neither the Supreme Leader nor President Rouhani have commented. However, the Secretary of the National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, implicitly promoted the agreement when he hailed Iranian-Russian “strategic cooperation”. www.mesop.de