Russia will soon provide a complete squadron of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a development that will likely further rile up the West as Tehran and Moscow deepen their defense and economic cooperation in defiance of sweeping sanctions and coercive measures.
Media reports, citing military experts, said 24 units of the twin-engine and super-maneuverable aircraft, a fourth-generation fighter jet designed primarily for air superiority roles, will be supplied to Iran in the near future.
It is believed that the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) Tactical Air Base (TAB) 8 in the central Iranian city of Isfahan will accommodate some of the combat aircraft.
Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) says the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet “combines the qualities of a modern fighter (super-maneuverability, superior active and passive acquisition aids, high supersonic speed and long range, capability of managing battle group actions, etc.) and a good tactical airplane (wide range of weapons that can be carried, modern multi-channel electronic warfare system, reduced radar signature, and high combat survivability).”
Iran hasn’t acquired any new fighter aircraft in recent years, excluding a few Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters it bought in the 1990s.
Besides the MiG-29, IRIAF mainly uses locally modified F-4 Phantom II, F-14 Tomcat, and F-5E/F Tiger II planes from the 1970s that the toppled US-backed Pahlavi regime received before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran and Russia have signed major deals in recent months to boost their economic, trade, energy and military cooperation.
Iran came under an inclusive regime of American sanctions in 2018 after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The United States and allies imposed a raft of similar and even tougher sanctions on Russia in February after Moscow launched a military operation in Ukraine.
Experts say US sanctions failed to reach their ultimate objective of forcing Iran into major political and military concessions. They insist the bans even created an opportunity for Iran to diversify its economy away from crude revenues and rely more on its domestic resources.
Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during an economic forum in Vladivostok that Russia was gaining from Western sanctions, saying Moscow saw more opportunities in entering markets in the Middle East and Iran after the sanctions were imposed.
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