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Russian planes left Iranian air base Aug 18 — Iran's Security Council

August 23, 2016, 17:28 UTC+3 TEHRAN

Russian fighter jets were not supposed to stay at the airbase, rather they were scheduled to stay until August 18 and then return home

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

TEHRAN, August 23. /TASS/. Russia’s military aircraft left Iran’s Shahid Nojeh airbase in Hamedan on Thursday, August 18, as planned, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani told the Mehr news agency on Tuesday.

"Russian fighter jets were not supposed to stay at the airbase, rather they were scheduled to stay until Thursday and then return home; they left on Thursday according to the schedule and not due to pressure from other countries," the Iranian National Security Council secretary said.

"Other countries were caught by surprise at our strategic cooperation with Russia," Shamkhani said. According to him, none of them could realize their plans to break the siege of Aleppo. Shamkhani said that "terrorists were drawing their last breaths in a particular region in Syria", despite the support from the United States and a number of states of the region, and it is necessary to use this opportunity for achieving "a decisive and permanent victory for the Syrian nation."

Commenting on the situation in Aleppo, the Iranian National Security Council chief said that the ground operations there are planned with the participation of Iranian military advisers and need air support. "We have Russia for the airstrikes alongside the ground operations devised by our own military advisors and that is indicative of power and authority," Mehr quotes Shamkhani as saying.

Shahid Nojeh airbase is located 47 km north of the city of Hamedan, a major administrative and industrial center. It has two 50-meter-wide runways, one around 3,900 meters long and the other 4,300 meters long. The asphalted concrete runways can receive heavy planes weighing up to 350 tons. The air base is fully outfitted for round-the-clock adverse-weather operations. Its operating capacity equals 70-80 tactical aircraft. Hence, the number of Russia’s Tu-22M3s (Backfire-C) bombers it can accommodate stands at 45-50 - a full-fledged air division. The base enjoys numerous storage facilities for armament and other materiel as well as a fuel farm to sustain a large task force for a long time. Hence, the conditions at the airbase are quite favorable.

Last week, the Russian military for the first times used an airfield in Iran to attack militants in Syria. Russia’s Tupolev Tu-22M3 and Sukhoi Su-34 fighters were involved in the attack. Previously, long-range bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces took off from Russian airfields, and frontline bombers - form the Hmeymim airbase in Syria.

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said at a briefing in Tehran that Russia stopped using the Nojeh Air Force Base in Iran’s Hamedan.

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