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Russian-Iranian Partnership Strengthens as Su-35 Jets Land in Tehran

Russia has commenced the transfer of Su-35 fighter planes to Iran in line with existing agreements between the two countries. A social media video released on Tuesday depicted a fighter jet flying over Iranian airspace as one of the planes touched down at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran.

At least three Su-35s were reported to have arrived, according to witnesses. In December 2022, Western intelligence agencies revealed that Russia planned to provide Iran with Su-35 fighter jets in exchange for military support. The Biden administration has accused Russia of deepening its cooperation with Iran by furnishing it with advanced military equipment such as air defense systems, helicopters, and fighter jets.

Iran’s Air Force commander announced in the autumn that plans to acquire Russian Su-30 fighter jets had been replaced with plans to purchase Su-35 fighter jets. In January 2023, a member of Iran’s parliamentary commission on national security and foreign policy, Shahriar Heydari, confirmed the agreement to purchase Russian fighter jets, which were scheduled to arrive in the country at the start of the new Iranian calendar year after March 21.

Russia also trained Iranian pilots to fly the Su-35 fighter jet. In March, Iran’s Permanent Mission to the UN announced the finalization of a contract with Russia to purchase an undisclosed number of Su-35 fighter jets. Originally intended for Egypt, the deal for 21 Su-35 fighter planes was signed by Moscow and Cairo in early 2019 but was canceled later, likely due to issues with the Russian aircraft’s flight characteristics. The fighter jets were initially stationed at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant named after Yu.A. Gagarin.

There is a possibility that Moscow and Tehran could agree on the supply of fighter jets in exchange for assistance in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

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