Iran has confirmed a deal with Russia for Sukhoi Su-35 jets, in a major revamp of its fighter fleet with foreign aircraft in more than two decades.
"Moscow is ready to deliver the fighter jets to Iran," Iran’s mission to the United Nations was quoted as saying in the official IRNA.
Tehran's last purchase of new fighters was in 1990s, when it received MiG-29 Fulcrum jets.
It added that after Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988, Iran asked a bunch of countries to review the possibility of selling fighter jets to Iran and Russia said it was ready for their sale. Both countries have been targeted with U.S.-led sanctions in recent years.
The Sukhoi sale could have been accelerated by Iran’s supply of loitering munitions and missiles to Russia in its war against Ukraine.
"Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets were technically approved by the Iranian aviation experts, and therefore... After October 2020 and the end of Iran's restrictions on conventional weapons purchases (based on the UN Security Council Resolution 2231), Iran has finally agreed to buy them," it added.
The diplomatic mission, however, did not specify when the deal was signed, its value or the delivery schedule “as they are classified.”
However, Shahriar Heidari, MP and member country’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said in January this year that the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) will 24 Su-35s in March.
In June 2022, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) said it was manufacturing an unspecified number of Su-35s for a "foreign customer.
Some Su-35s are anticipated to be housed at Tactical Air Base (TAB) 8 of the IRIAF, which is located in the Iranian city of Isfahan in the country's center.