Iran finalizes deal to acquire Su-35s from Russia: UN Envoy
Iran finalizes a deal on buying Su-35 fighter jets from Russia after deliberations that have been ongoing for months.
Iran has finalized a deal to purchase Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, Iran's mission to the United Nations told Russian news agency Sputnik, though they refused to disclose information on the number of aircraft and the timing of their delivery, as that is classified information.
"Following the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, Iran asked a bunch of countries to buy fighter jets, and Russia said it was open to selling," the mission said.
"The SU-35 fighter jets are technically acceptable to Iran, so after October 2020 and the end of Iran's restrictions on conventional weapons purchases (UN Resolution 2231), Iran finalized the deal to buy them," Tehran's delegation added.
Moreover, the diplomatic mission did not specify when the deal was finalized exactly, nor how many fighter jets Russia would deliver to Iran and when.
"There are no details to be published because it's classified," the mission added.
It was reported in mid-March that Iran was expected to receive multiple Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia as early as March.
MP Shahriar Heidari told Tasnim news agency that alongside the fighter jets, Iran will also receive military equipment such as air defense systems, missile systems, and helicopters that they had previously ordered. Media has reported that 24 of the fourth-generation twin-engine, super-maneuverable Sukhoi fighter jets meant for air superiority missions are part of the package.
In September, Iranian Army Air Force Commander Hamid Vahedi announced that the IRIAF is looking to purchase Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets. Even Turkey was considering the Su-35 as an alternative for the US-made F-16s in case of a fallout with the United States.
Iran and Russia have been undertaking measures and agreements to boost their economic, trade, energy, and military cooperation. In December, CIA Director William Burns pointed out that the US was concerned about the growing cooperation between Russia and Iran and fears that it could eventually evolve into a full defense partnership.
This is the first time in decades that Iran has acquired new fighter aircraft, with the exception of several MiG-29 Fulcrum's Tehran bought back in the 1990s.
The IRIAF currently uses the Russian MiG-29 and modified F-4 Phantom IIs, F-14 Tomcats, and F-5E/F Tiger IIs from the United States, which Tehran had gotten from Washington under the US-backed Pahlavi regime.
The National Interest reported earlier in January that Tehran's potential purchase of dozens of Russian Su-35 aircraft would give an unprecedented boost to Tehran's control over its airspace, especially in case of an aerial military confrontation against the Israeli occupation.
In late December, some reports revealed that Russia will soon be providing Iran with a complete squadron of Su-35 fighters in the near future, marking a new era in Russian-Iranian cooperation as the West keeps trying to isolate the two nations through unilateral sanctions.
The Commander of Iran's Army Air Force Hamid Vahedi had announced that Iran is looking at purchasing Russian Su-35 fighter jets.
Despite some Western assessments tending to downplay Iran's potential acquisition of the aircraft, believing that it would not drastically change the airpower balance in the Gulf, the purchase "manifests a grim calculus for the West," the report suggested.
The article described the Su-35 as "a very lucrative catch" for Iran, as the aircraft is "a Russian 4.5th generation air-superiority fighter that has a better thrust-to-weight ratio than its predecessor, the Su-27," explaining that the platform is "capable of performing controlled maneuvers that would otherwise be impossible via regular aerodynamics."
In addition to the Su-35, The National Interest report claimed that Iran might be very close to purchasing an S-400 deal, which would "decidedly alter the risk assessment" of an Israeli occupation strike on Iran.
Read more: Russian aircraft firm masters production of Su-57s: Official
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday during a meeting with Israeli Security Minister Yoav Gallant that military cooperation between Russia and Iran bears negative repercussions for the Israeli occupation and the entire region of the Middle East.
"Secretary Austin provided updates to Minister Gallant on Russia's unprovoked war of choice in Ukraine. He noted the negative implications for Israel and the broader Middle East from increased military cooperation between Iran and Russia," the Pentagon said in a statement after the bilat in occupied Palestine.
Furthermore, according to the Pentagon statement, Austin highlighted that Tehran may gain battlefield experience with the kamikaze drones Russia is currently using.
Read more: Sanctions, blockade insufficient against Iran UAVs: National Interest
The repercussions of Russia transferring sophisticated military technology to Iran may be felt throughout the entire region, the senior US defense official added.
Despite the warnings about cooperation, the Israeli occupation discussed with the United States a bilateral defense partnership, including the JUNIPER OAK exercise, which was recently concluded between the two sides and had been attended by over 7,000 Israeli occupation forces and US troops. Meanwhile, the Pentagon said both parties agreed to continue cooperation in that area, i.e., the military sphere.