Iran finalizes deal to buy Russian fighter jets

Iran buys Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia to replenish its ageing fleet and deepen defence cooperation.

Iran finalizes deal to buy Russian fighter jets

has reached an agreement with Russia to purchase Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, according to state media.

The Iranian air force has been struggling with an ageing fleet and the acquisition of spare parts, which has impacted its operational readiness.

A statement issued by indicated that it started seeking to purchase fighter jets from other countries following the 1980-88 -Iraq war. After the expiry of restrictions on Iran purchasing conventional weapons under UN Resolution 2231 in October 2020, Russia offered to sell the fighter jets to Iran. The statement noted that the Sukhoi 35 fighter jets were found to be technically acceptable for Iran.

The deal marks a significant deepening of defence ties between the two countries. In the past year, has forged strong links with Moscow in several areas, including the military.

While the deal between and Russia has not been confirmed, the has raised concern over the increasing military collaboration between Iran and Russia.

The Pentagon warned that may receive the Sukhoi warplanes within the next year, which would “significantly strengthen Iran’s air force relative to its regional neighbours”.

Currently, ’s fleet mostly comprises of MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets from the Soviet era, along with some Chinese aircraft, including the F-7.

Additionally, a few F-4 and F-5 fighter jets that date back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution are also part of its fleet. In 2019, the US began reimposing sanctions on after its unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which offered Iran relief from international sanctions in return for limitations on its nuclear programme.

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