US: Russian bombing raid from Iran ‘unfortunate’

Russia’s defense ministry earlier said long-range bombers and fighter jets took off from the Hamedan base in western Iran. (AFP)

The United States on Tuesday bemoaned Russia’s use of an Iranian air base to launch a bombing raid in Syria, but credited Moscow for having given a brief advance warning.

Russia’s defense ministry earlier said long-range bombers and fighter jets took off from the Hamedan base in western Iran and “conducted a group air strike against targets of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups” in the provinces of Aleppo, Deir Ezzor and Idlib.

“It’s unfortunate, but not surprising or unexpected,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

“Frankly, that only makes more difficult what is already a very contentious and complex and difficult situation, he said.

“And it only pushes us further away from what we’re all... trying to pursue, which is a credible nation-wide cessation of hostilities and a political process in Geneva that leads to a peaceful transition.”

‘Iranian denials’

The speaker of Iran's parliament stressed on Wednesday that Russia does not have a permanent military base within the Islamic Republic, a day after Moscow announced launching airstrikes on Syria from Iran.

Wednesday's comments by the Iranian official, Ali Larijani, seem geared at easing domestic concerns over the strikes. Iran's constitution, ratified after its 1979 Islamic Revolution, bars foreign militaries from having bases within the country.

In his remarks, reported by the state-run IRNA news agency, Larijani did not directly discuss the strikes, though he said Iran has “cooperated with Russia, as it is our ally on regional issues, especially on Syrian issues.”

“We have good cooperation with Russia and we say it loud and clear,” Larijani said.

US: Russia informed coalition over Iran flights

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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