CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, Aug. 16, 2016:
Russia has deployed long-range Tupolev 22M3 heavy bombers to a military airfield in Iran. These bombers, already in use against opposition and Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Syria, will have a shorter deployment to target and thus a quicker turnaround time from the Iranian airfield. The base, Hamedan Airfield, is located in Western Iran near the Iraqi border.
Though openly intended for combat against ISIS and the Syrian opposition, the Russian deployment represents a further cementing of both the growing alliance between Russia and Iran, and of Iran’s strategic defense-in-depth for its nuclear program. Russia has been securing Iran against a military option should it walk away from its promises on the so-called ‘nuclear deal.’ The reason this is significant is that the deal front-loads Western payments and other benefits for Iran, but becomes less and less sweet as the deal progresses in time. Iran will obtain large cash payments and assistance in building new fission plants in the first years of the deal, for example. However, its incentive to continue to abide by the deal is reduced as these benefits are paid off.
Russia’s major contribution to Iran’s strategic defense so far has come in missile sales and protection of Iran’s internal development of ballistic missiles. The air defense missiles sold by Russia to Iran, the S-300, are thought capable of defeating all fourth generation fighters. That means Iran should be able to protect itself against all American fighter-bombers except the F-22 and F-35, and the B-2. It should also be able to protect itself against air strikes by the entire Israeli Air Force fleet.
Their ballistic missiles are wildly inaccurate and carry a small payload, making them ideal only for nuclear weapons use. Iran however denies any intent to develop nuclear weapons, even though the missiles it is developing are really not sensible for use with any other weapons. Thus, the frequently-stated claim that these ballistic missiles will provide an offsetting counter-strike capability to Iran is not true. They are not accurate enough for that. What would provide a convincing counter-strike capability are Russian heavy bombers operating from Iran in alliance with Iran.
Iran and Russia are using the war against ISIS to reshape control of the northern Middle East in their joint interest. The failure of the United States strategy has been clear for some time, and this new move only tightens their control.
The news comes a week after it was announced that Iran’s Qassem Suliemani, commander of the elite Quds Force, would be guiding the assault on ISIS positions in Mosul. Suleimani is under an international travel ban due to his leadership of an Iranian plot to assassinate diplomats worldwide. His presence in Iraq shows that the Iraqi government is willing to allow Iran to violate international law in order to receive its support. Syria and Russia have also allowed Suleimani to travel to their countries.
From Russian outlet, RT:
- Russia uses Iran as base to bomb Syrian militants for first time (reuters.com)
Russia Building New Underground Nuclear Command Posts (freebeacon.com)