TEHRAN, Aug. 22 (UPI) — The Russian use of an Iranian airbase to launch airstrikes on targets in Syria has ended, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday.
Use of the airbase near Hamedan, Iran, began a week ago, but the mission is complete, spokesman Bharam Ghasemi noted. He said Russia could seek Iranian consent to use the airbase again, but that no Russian troops were stationed within Iran, except for the airbase.
“It was a particular operation. They came, they went and they finished it,” Ghasemi said.
Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan said Saturday the Hamedan airbase was used to refuel Russian planes or reload them with armaments and that Russia can continue using only that Iranian airbase.
Russian long-range and tactical bombers began airstrikes from the Hamedan base on Aug. 16, striking Islamic state targets in Syria. The missions, in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s government in the five-year-old sectarian war, continued for several days.
The use of the airbase was seen as strengthening military ties between Russia and Iran, which are both allied with the Assad government.