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Senior MP Strongly Dismisses Rumors about Deployment of Russian S-400 Missile Defense Shield in Iran

17 August 2016 15:01

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Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi strongly rejected Israeli media reports claiming that Russia has or plans to deploy its S-400 missile defense system at an air base in Western Iran.

“The Zionist websites release invalid materials,” Boroujerdi said in an interview with the parliament’s news agency when asked about Israeli media reports claiming that a Russian S-400 missile defense shield has been deployed in Iran’s Western city of Hamedan.

“Generally speaking, Russia has never deployed anything on the Islamic Republic’s soil,” he added.

His remarks came after the Israeli website DEBKA file allegedly reported that “Russian giant Antonov An-124 air freighters are ready to take off Wednesday, Aug. 17, carrying an array of advanced S-400 and S-300 air defense missiles bound for the new Russian air base just completed at Noji, 50 km from the western Iranian town of Hamedan”.

Iran has purchased several S-300 missile defense systems from Russia and Moscow is half through with their delivery now. But the S-400 deployment in an airbase in Western Iran came after Tuesday reports about the Russian bombers’ refuelling at an Iranian air base.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense confirmed on Tuesday that it had deployed Tu-22M3 bombers and Su-34 strike fighters in Iran and these have already carried out airstrikes against terrorists in Syria.

“On August 16, 2016, Tu-23M3 long-range bombers and Su-34 bombers, having taken off from their base in Hamadan [Islamic Republic of Iran], carried out group airstrikes against targets belonging to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Fatah al-Sham) terrorist groups in the provinces of Aleppo, Deir Ezzur and Idlib,” the ministry said in a statement.

Strategic long-range Tu-22M3 bombers have already delivered airstrikes in Syria against ISIL from the airfield.

Hours later, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani indirectly confirmed deployment of Tu-22M3 bombers and Su-34 strike fighters in Western Iran to be used for airstrikes against terrorists in Syria.

“Cooperation between Tehran and Moscow to fight against terrorism in Syria is strategic and we exchange our capacities and possibilities in this regard,” Shamkhani said on Tuesday when asked by Iran’s state-run news agency about Russian media reports on the deployment of the country’s fighter jets on the Iranian soil.

“The conditions have grown difficult for the terrorists due to the constructive and extensive cooperation among Iran, Russia, Syria and the resistance front and this trend will continue with new and massive operations until their full annihilation,” he added.

Shamkhani underlined that Tehran, without any expectations, is playing a military advisory role in countries which are fighting against terrorism.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the ISIL terrorist group’s Aleppo arms depots used to supply ISIL militants near Aleppo were destroyed by Russian planes taking off from an Iranian airbase.

The report was published by Sputnik news agency after al-Masdar News reported Moscow and Tehran signed a military agreement allowing Russian aircraft to station at Hamadan Airport in Western Iran.

The number of military aircraft to be deployed at Hamadan Airbase has not been disclosed yet,.

First photos published by al-Masdar expose at least three Tu-22M3 bombers and Il-76 military transport jet in Iran.

The core benefit for the Russian Air Force is a drastic reduction in flying time to terrorist targets in Syria.

Russian long-range bombers have been delivering airstrikes in Syria from a base in Mozdok, Russia, and had to cover a distance of about 2,000km to get to Syrian airspace. Now that distance is reduced to some 700km, so time-sensitive airstrikes can be delivered immediately and more cheaply.

As for Khmeimim Airbase in Syria’s Lattakia province, used by Russian task force since September 2015 to deliver airstrikes against ISIL, its airstrip is not suitable for the heavy Tu-22M3.

But that is subject to change, as Damascus granted Moscow permission to station a permanent military airbase at Khmeimim, and the Russian Air Force is preparing to thoroughly refurbish and modernize the airfield, so it will be able to accommodate all types of military aircraft in the near future.

Military cooperation between Iran and Russia is developing rapidly.

In January this year, Moscow and Tehran signed military cooperation deal that implies wider collaboration in personnel training and counter-terrorism activities. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan signed the document during a visit by Russia’s top brass to the Iranian capital.

Earlier, Russian media reported that Moscow has once again requested Iran and Iraq to allow cruise missiles to fly through their respective airspace to deliver strikes on terrorist targets in Syria.

Russia also launched tactical naval drills in the Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. The warships taking part in the exercise are to engage in live artillery and missile fire “under simulated battlefield conditions.” The Mediterranean force includes two fast attack guided missile craft, both armed with Kalibr-NK cruise missile complexes equipped with eight missiles each.

Simultaneously, a group of four attack guided missile craft each armed with 8 Kalibr-NK cruise missiles has been deployed in the southwestern part of the Caspian Sea, also to perform live artillery and missile strikes.

On October 7, 2015, four Russian Navy warships in the Caspian Sea fired a total of 26 missiles at positions in Syria held by ISIL, Shoigu announced. The missiles traveled some 1,500km, changing route several times, and eliminating 11 targets.

On November 20, warships of Russia’s Caspian Fleet launched 18 cruise missiles at seven targets in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo. All of the targets were said to have been successfully hit.

Russia has already delivered half of S-300 air defense systems to Iran under the existing contract, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters earlier this month.

Head of Russia’s Rostec corporation, Sergei Chemezov, said in July that Russia was planning to complete the deliveries of the S-300 air defense systems to Iran by the end of 2016.

Iran announced in July that the new defense systems integrated into the country’s home-made missile shield have increased its air defense capability.

“Integration of the indigenized systems with the new systems has increased (Iran’s) air defense capability,” Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli said on July 20, addressing the Air Defense Base staff in Tehran only a day after reports said Iran has received the missiles of a battalion of the S-300 air defense system that it imported from Russia a few months ago.

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