By Grzegorz Kuczyński
Not surprisingly, Iran has reached a deal to buy advanced Su-35 fighter planes from Russia, expanding a relationship that has seen Iranian-built drones used in Russia’s war on Ukraine. Both states have been in talks for months now to purchase fighter jets, a sign of ever-increasing military cooperation between Russia and Iran.
According to official media reports, Iran has concluded a deal to buy Russian Su-35 fighter jets after an embargo covering conventional weapons was lifted in October 2020. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Iran will receive 24 fighter jets, according to Turkish news agency Anadolu and some Israeli media outlets. These are the jets Russia had initially intended to sell to Egypt. Iran’s fleet of combat aircraft is now outdated.
It has only a few dozen strike aircraft, including aging U.S. or French models, such as the F-4, F-5, F-14, or the Mirage F1, acquired before the Iranian revolution. Iran later bought Chinese and Russian-made aircraft such as the MiG-29, Su-25, or the F-7.
The purchase of Russian Su-35 jets is a major milestone in developing the country’s air force. Iran has been in talks to purchase fighter jets with a couple of countries since UN sanctions were officially lifted. Shahriar Heidari, a member of the parliament’s National Security Committee, told Tasnim News Agency in January 2023 that the deal had been concluded, adding the jets would arrive in Iran in March.
Iran and Russia have signed important agreements in recent months to strengthen their economic, trade, energy, and military cooperation. Iran has sent drones to Russia that Moscow is using for its invasion of Ukraine. Teheran is being directly engaged on the ground in Russian-occupied Crimea, helping to train the country’s forces.