Iran has reached a deal to buy advanced Su-35 fighter planes from Russia, Iranian state media says, expanding its controversial military ties with Moscow.
"The Sukhoi-35 fighter planes are technically acceptable to Iran and Iran has finalized a contract for their purchase," the broadcaster IRIB quoted Iran's mission to the United Nations as saying in New York.
The report did not carry any Russian confirmation of the deal, details of which were not disclosed. The mission said Iran had also inquired about buying military aircraft from several other, unnamed countries, IRIB reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran last July, stressing closer ties in the face of Western pressure over the war in Ukraine.
Iran has has supplied hundreds of kamikaze drones to Russia that have been used to target Ukraine's military and civilian infrastructure. Moscow denies that its forces use Iranian-built drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.
Iran’s air force has only a few dozen strike aircraft: Russian jets as well as ageing US models acquired before the Iranian revolution of 1979. Instead, Iran has developed a variety of drones and missiles see n as a threat for other regional countries.
In 2018, Iran said it had started production of the locally designed Kowsar fighter for use in its air force. Some military experts believe the jet is a carbon copy of an F-5 first produced in the United States in the 1960s.
With reporting by Reuters