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Iran set to welcome Sukhoi-35 fighter jets after supplying deadly drones to Russia

Iran has placed orders from Russia for Sukhoi 35 fighter jets, helicopters, defence systems and missiles (Image courtesy: Creative Commons)

Russia will soon start delivering Sukhoi-35 fighter jets and defence systems to Iran, a top Iranian politician has confirmed to the local media in Tehran.

Shahriar Heidari, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission (NSFPC), believes that the first delivery could happen as soon as March, at the beginning of the Iranian new year.

“We have placed orders from Russia for defence systems, missiles, as well as fighters and helicopters, and most of these weapons will enter the country soon. For example, the Sukhoi 35 fighter will arrive in Iran early next year,” Heidari told Iran’s leading Tasnim News Agency.

It is expected that the combat aircraft will be based at the Tactical Air Base (TAB) 8 of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) in Isfahan, a city in central Iran.

Russia’s former envoy to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan, who is now the country’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, said in 2020 that Moscow is ready to supply Tehran with its state-of-the-art S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.

The Western media has been anticipating over the last few months, especially after the collapse of the Su-35’s orders by Egypt, that Iran could soon receive as many as 24 Su-35 fighter jets from Moscow.

In September, Iranian Air Force chief Brigadier General Hamid Vahedi first hinted at the purchase of Russian fourth-generation fighter, saying that it remains on top of the air force’s agenda.

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Iranian President Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, last July (Image courtesy: Kremlin.ru)

It was followed by the United Kingdom and the United States implementing new sanctions on Iranian individuals and businesses responsible for supplying Russia with kamikaze drones, which they believed are being used by Moscow to bombard Ukraine.

The West alleged that Iran, which has one of the largest and most diverse drone and missile arsenals in the Middle East, continues to increase the sophistication, range, and accuracy of its weapons systems.

“It also has a long-standing track record of proliferating drones, missiles, and missile technology, including to non-state actors. The missiles and drones are under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps,” the UK government said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the US further designated seven individuals in leadership positions with Qods Aviation Industries (QAI), an Iranian defence manufacturer responsible for the design and production of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organisation (AIO), the main entity responsible for overseeing Iran’s ballistic missile programs.

Iran Drone
(Image courtesy: Ministry of Defence, Iran)

“The action follows our designations in September and November of individuals and entities involved in the production and transfer of Iranian Shahed – and Mohajer – series UAVs, which Moscow continues to use in its brutal attacks against Ukraine, including its critical infrastructure,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

However, Tehran has maintained that it has no control over how or where the drones are being used and it cannot be accused of supporting the war in Ukraine just because Russia is using Iranian drone technology.

“The use of Iranian weapons by Russia has nothing to do with Iran because Iran has only been the seller of that weapon to this country, and now this country wants to use these drones anywhere, it is up to that country itself,” said Heidari during his interview with the Tasnim News Agency.

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