Russia to sell fighter jets to Iran: strategic alliance or cause for concern

Iran has been endeavoring to strengthen its military relationship with Russia, hoping to acquire Sukhoi jets, despite the lack of hope for the reinstatement of the nuclear agreement and the imposition of new sanctions due to its repression of dissenters domestically.

According to reports, Russia is considering selling the Sukhoi jets to Iran.

The relations between Iran and the West have become increasingly strained, leading to the two countries deepening their ties. This includes two phone calls between Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Vladimir Putin in less than 10 days, multiple high-level visits, and the possible purchase of Russian Sukhoi fighter jets by Iran as a means to evade EU and US sanctions.

The West has expressed discontentment towards Iran since the country supplied combat drones to Russia, which are being utilized in the latter’s conflict with Ukraine. Although Tehran has denied this, with more and more proof of their kamikaze drones crashing in Kyiv, they have been unable to make the Ukrainian authorities believe them.

The Islamic Republic of Tehran has maintained long-standing cooperation with Moscow in terms of military aid. With Western sanctions in place, the Iranian air force has deteriorated and requires a major overhaul. According to Press TV, Tehran is in the process of obtaining 24 advanced Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia. This follows comments in September by army officials who first made mention of the plans. There has been speculation whether these jets are payment for Iranian drones, with Iranian lawmaker Shahriar Heydari quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying that the order could be delivered as early as spring.

The Kremlin and the Iranian presidential office both reported that Putin and Raisi had phone conversations from the 9th to the 19th of January, emphasizing the importance of strengthening bilateral relations.

Between the two phone conversations, Igor Levitin, a key advisor of Putin, traveled to Tehran and conferred with Ali Shamkhani, the national top security official and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

During the same visit, Shamkhani’s office-run Nour News states that discussions were had between the Russian official and the newly appointed Governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Mohammad Reza Farzin, to explore the possibility of increasing Iran-Russia banking cooperation. Reports suggest that both countries, which have been hit by sanctions, are attempting to devise a new trade system that could replace the US dollar in their transactions.

Tags : Iran, Russia