Amid burgeoning ties, Iran's deputy defense minister has announced the purchase of the advanced Sukhoi-35 fighter jet amongst its latest arms deal with Moscow.
Mehdi Farahi told IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency on Tuesday that Iran anticipates the delivery of the Mil Mi-28 attack helicopter, Sukhoi-35 fighter jet, and Yak-130 training aircraft imminently as the regime ramps up its supplies from the fellow sanctioned nation.
As of now, Russian authorities have not commented on the latest deal which gives it access to some of Russia's most sought-after technology. Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and its heightened need for weapons, particularly drones, has led to a deepening of ties between the two nations keen to ramp up their military capabilities in the face of global sanctions.
Iran's pursuit of the Russian Sukhoi-35 stems from its perception as a formidable rival to the American F-35. Given the aging fleet of fighter jets, many acquired during the reign of the Shah, the acquisition signals a potential modernization of Iran's air force.
Contradictory statements regarding the acquisition process have become a recurrent theme in Iran's discourse. In June, Air Force Commander Hamid Vahedi expressed the necessity for the Sukhoi-35 but remained uncertain about its deployment timeline.
A month later, the Defense Minister under President Ebrahim Raisi indirectly acknowledged disruptions in the fighter jet purchase contract. Mohammadreza Ashtiani, responding to queries about the Sukhoi-35 acquisition, hinted that the capability for domestic production played a role in the decision.
Speculation surrounding potential disruptions in military cooperation between Russia and Iran has surfaced, with some suggesting that Israel may have influenced Russia to postpone the delivery of the advanced fighter jets.