Iran expects first batch of Russian SU-35 fighter jets next week
The original purchase agreement was signed between Iran and Russia on 11 March
By News Desk - May 14 2023

(Photo credit: Marina Lystseva/TASS)

The Islamic Republic of Iran is expected to receive the first batch of the Russian-made SU-35 fighter jet next week, according to Iranian news outlet Mehr.

The original agreement to deliver the jets was signed between Iran and Russia on 11 March, state media IRNA reports.

According to IRNA, “Russia announced it was ready to sell them” once UN Resolution 2231, which prohibits Iran from obtaining conventional weapons, expired in October 2020.

In the face of western sanctions, Tehran and Moscow have begun to tighten their cooperation. Iran and Russia have recently inked important agreements to expand economic, commercial, energy, and military ties.

According to Shahriar Heydari, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy panel, the jets will be delivered within the current Iranian calendar year, which began on 21 March.

Heydari added that Russia would also deliver air defense systems, missile systems, and helicopters to Iran in the near future.

Heydari’s announcement also comes as part of the broader framework of Russian-Iranian cooperation – particularly in finance, banking, and trade – a framework under which Moscow and Tehran have been working to build an economic roadmap independent of western hegemony and sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iran might send short-range precision-guided ballistic missiles to Russia in conjunction with this agreement.

Except for a few Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters purchased in the 1990s, Iran has not purchased any new fighter aircraft in recent years.

According to media reports, the Sukhoi SU-35s that Tehran will receive are “highly maneuverable fourth-generation fighter jets that will be used primarily for air superiority missions.”

Aside from the MiG-29, the Iranian air force mostly employs locally modified F-4 Phantom II, F-14 Tomcat, and F-5E/F Tiger II jets that were given to the deposed US-backed Pahlavi government before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

As part of this cooperation, Russia and Iran have been working to establish methods to alleviate the sanctions that target their economies, including the potential linking of card payment systems. Iran has also boosted its role as a transit hub by facilitating the transportation of goods from Russia to India via the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

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