An Iranian deputy defense minister has said that the Islamic Republic has finalized arrangements for the delivery of Russian made Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and attack helicopters, amid a burgeoning military partnership between Moscow and Tehran.
"Plans have been finalized for Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, Mil Mi-28 attack helicopters, and Yak-130 training jets to join the combat units of Iran's Army," Deputy Defence Minister Mehdi Farahi told the semi-official Tasnim news agency on November 28.
The report did not include any Russian confirmation of the deal.
It comes after Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani hinted in July that the deal to buy Su-35 jets was off.
"At some point, we made a deal for the purchase, but we came to the conclusion that we have the ability to produce [fighter jets] in the country," the minister said.
In September, Iranian media reported that the country’s air force received a batch of Russian-made Yak-130 combat trainer jets.
Iran's air force has a few dozen strike aircraft, including MiG-29 fighters bought in the 1990s and aging US models acquired before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Islamic Republic said in 2018 it had started production of the locally-designed Kowsar fighter, which military experts believe is a copy of the F-5, first produced in the United States in the 1960s.
Tehran and Moscow have deepened their bilateral ties, particularly in the military sphere, since the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The European Union, the United States, the UK and other countries have also issued several rounds of sanctions against the Islamic Republic in recent months over its crackdown on dissent and its supply of hundreds of drones to Russia for its war effort in Ukraine.
Last week, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that Tehran may provide Russia with ballistic missiles for use in its war in Ukraine after having provided Moscow with drones, guided aerial bombs and artillery ammunition.
In return, “Iran is seeking billions of dollars worth of military equipment from Russia to strengthen its military capabilities,” Kirby said.