Iran Says Russia Can Again Use Its Military Bases for Syria Airstrikes

Russian deployment in Iranian bases stopped after lawmakers said it breaches the constitution. Now, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Moscow could use its bases ‘on case by case basis.’

Russian air force Tu-22M3 bombers strike the Islamic State group targets in Syria, January 24, 2017.
/AP

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia could use Iranian military bases to launch airstrikes against militants in Syria on a "case by case basis."

Russia and Iran are both key allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad and have played decisive roles in the past 18 months to turn the tide of the Syrian conflict in his favor.

Russian jets used an air base in Iran to launch attacks against militant targets in Syria last summer, the first time a foreign power had used an Iranian base since World War Two.

The deployment ended abruptly however after some Iranian lawmakers called the move a breach of Iran's constitution which forbids foreign military bases, and the Iranian defense minister chided Moscow for publicizing the arrangement.

"Russia doesn't have a military base (in Iran), we have good cooperation, and on a case by case basis, when it is necessary for Russians fighting terrorism to use Iranian facilities, we will make a decision," said Zarif.

Zarif is part of an Iranian delegation headed by President Hassan Rouhani, which arrived in Moscow on Monday.

Zarif said that regional issues, including Syria, would be discussed at a meeting in the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin.