Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter-bombers have been attacking the so-called Islamic State forces in the Diyala region of Eastern Iraq. At least, that is want the US Department of Defense says.
The Iranian attacks were not part of the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve, as Teheran and Washington are not the greatest friends. If true, the Iranian attacks were technically at targets in another souvereign country, and that might be part of the reason why the Iranian leadership initally denied its involvement to press agency Reuters. Later British newspaper The Guardian quoted another Iranian official that did confirm the strikes.
Despite that Iran didn’t talk with Washington about it and judging the statements from the US capital, the American military didn’t or wouldn’t mind that or if Iranian jets act against the ISIS/ISIL forces. “We co-ordinate our air strikes against ISIS with the Iraqi government and it’s up to that government what happens inside Iraqi airspace,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said to the media.
This week’s presumed attacks by Iranian Phantoms – and at least five Sukhoi Su-24MKs according to sources – were not the first ordered by Teheran against ISIS. Earlier this year Iranian air assets are known to have struck as well, although less advertised as the USA and its allies were not involved themselves yet in a large scale air operations.
The then Imperial Iranian Air Force received 225 American-built F-4Ds, F-4Es and RF-4Es during the 1960s and 1970, before a revolution overthrew the then Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It is believed the current Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force has about 35 to 70 Phantom jets left, with many domestically upgraded.
Iraq ignited a destructive war against Iran in 1980 and when the two countries finally ceased fire in 1988 many aircraft had been lost, many troops and scores of civilians were dead.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger