Tehran has signed a deal to buy Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, according to state media, amid deepening defense cooperation between the two countries.
The sanctioned Iranian Air Force has an aging fleet of aircraft and is struggling to procure spare parts to keep its fighters flying.
In a statement to the United Nations, Tehran said it began looking to “countries buying fighter planes” to replenish its fleet after the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88.
“Russia is ready to sell them after restrictions on Iran’s conventional arms purchases under UN Resolution 2231 expire in October 2020,” the state-run IRNA news agency said in a statement late Friday. announced.”
“The Sukhoi 35 fighter has been technically accepted by Iran,” she added. Tehran has developed close ties with Moscow over the past year on various fronts, including the military.
Kiev accuses Tehran of supplying Moscow with Shahed-136 ‘Kamikaze’ drones, which have been used to strike civilian targets since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February. , the Islamic Republic denies this claim.
The United States has expressed concern over growing military cooperation between Iran and Russia, with Pentagon spokesman John Kirby warning in December that Russia was likely to sell military aircraft to Iran.
Kirby claimed that Iranian pilots were reportedly learning to fly Sukhoi fighter jets in Russia and that Tehran could receive the planes sometime next year.
Iran now has mostly Russian Soviet-era MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets, as well as some Chinese aircraft, including F-7s.
Some of her F-4 and F-5 fighters in America before the 1979 Islamic Revolution also belong to this fleet. The United States began reimposing sanctions on Iran in 2019, a year after it unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal under then-President Donald Trump.
The 2015 agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave Iran exemptions from international sanctions in exchange for suppressing allegations of its nuclear program.