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Diplomat: Use of base in Iran by Russian planes is defense ministries’ competence

August 18, 2016, 16:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The spokeswoman has also dwelled upon the trilateral contacts among Russia, Iran and Turkey noting it's a constructive mechanism of addressing regional problems

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Russia's Tu-22M3 strategic bomber (archive)

Russia's Tu-22M3 strategic bomber (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Marina Lystseva

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. All matters concerning the use of Iran’s air base Shahid Nojeh for strikes against terrorists in Syria are an exclusive competence of military agencies, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

"This is a competence of the Defense Ministry, which is carrying out this operation in close contact with the Iranian counterparts," Zakharova said, asked for how long the Russian military would be using the Iranian base. "We have close contacts between the foreign ministries, but this is an exclusive competence of the defense ministries and they address the issue in the established fashion."

The spokeswoman has also dwelled upon the trilateral contacts among Russia, Iran and Turkey noting it's a constructive mechanism of addressing regional problems that does not substitute for any of the existing formats.

"This is a normal way of communication among countries involved in certain regional problems. It is a normal negotiating machinery that works constructively and fruitfully," she said. "But it does not substitute for any of the existing formats."

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said during a visit to Ankara last week that Iran, Russia and Turkey were influential players in the region and should maintain interaction. He expressed the certainty that all disagreements over regional problems were surmountable.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov held talks in Tehran on Monday. He told TASS in an interview that the discussions concerned the possibility of consultations over regional problems in the trilateral format Russia-Iran-Turkey.

As for a possible trip to Turkey by Russia's top diplomat Sergey Lavrov, Zakharova said there was no information. 

"I have no information regarding this issue," she said in reply to a reporter’s query about the possibility of such a trip.

On Wednesday, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov told Turkish Anadolu news agency that Lavrov may visit Turkey before the end of the year, possibly in November or December.

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