DUBAI, March 11 (Reuters) – Iran has reached an agreement to buy advanced Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, Iranian state media said on Saturday, expanding a relationship that has seen Iranian-made drones used in Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The Iranian Radio and Television Corporation quoted Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York as saying that “the Sukhoi-35 combat aircraft are technically acceptable to Iran and that Iran has concluded a contract to purchase them.”
The IRIB report did not include any Russian confirmation of the deal, and its details were not disclosed. The mission said that Iran also inquired about purchasing military aircraft from several other unnamed countries, according to what was reported by IRIB.
The news site Semaphore reported on Iran’s purchase of Russian fighter jets on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran last July, and stressed closer ties in the face of Western pressure over the war in Ukraine.
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Iran has admitted sending drones to Russia, but says they were sent before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Moscow denies that its forces use Iranian-made drones in Ukraine, although several have been shot down and recovered there.
The Iranian Air Force has only a few dozen attack aircraft, including Russian ones as well as older American models acquired before the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
In 2018, Iran said it had begun production of the domestically designed Kosar fighter for use in its air force. Some military experts believe that the aircraft is a carbon copy of the F-5, first produced in the United States in the 1960s.
Reporting from the Dubai Newsroom. Editing by Kevin Levy and Jamie Fried
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