These gains have unnerved Tehran and has reportedly led to a number of purported airstrikes against ISIS by the Iranian Air Force. So far, the airstrikes carried out by the Iranian have focused in the ethnically and religiously mixed Iraqi province of Diyala, which butts up against Iran.
“Iran regards the area as a buffer zone and does not tolerate any military threats within that buffer zone,” Hamid Reza Taraghi, a conservative Iranian politician, told the LA Times in Tehran. Iraqi officials had asked Iran “to be quiet about” it’s involvement.
“Although it is theoretically possible for Iranian planes to fly inside Iraq without any coordination with other air forces operating in the same airspace, it would be suicidal,” Aviation expert David Cenciotti told Business Insider. An unnamed US defense official told the Huffington Post that the US was at least aware of the Iranian Air Force carrying out air strikes against ISIS in eastern Iraq.
Iran’s Air Force Is Bombing ISIS With This 40-Year-Old US Fighter Jet
In late November Iran carried out a series of airstrikes close to its border with Iraq against ISIS. Although the airstrikes are already notable for signaling possible military coordination between Iran and the US, they become even more notable in light of Iran’s choice of aircraft.
Iran provided air support to the Iraqi military and the Kurdish Peshmerga with its ageing fleet of F-4 Phantoms. The Phantom, which first flew in 1958, was originally used by the US Navy as an interceptor, used to track down and destroy enemy aircraft. However, the plane was adopted by the Air Force and Marines for every conceivable combat and training role and was exported to 11 other nations.