Iran has finalized arrangements for the delivery of Russian Su-35 fighter jets and Mil Mi-28 attack helicopters, Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Mahdi Farahi told Tashim news agency on Nov. 28.
Iran also plans to buy Russian Yak-130 jet trainers that would allow Iranian military pilots to learn how to operate more advanced fighter aircraft, such as Su-57, according to Farahi, cited by Tashim.
This is Iran's first deal on the procurement of new fighter jets in years, wrote the Iranian news outlet associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
According to Reuters, Iran has only a few dozen attack aircraft in its arsenal, including Russian jets and outdated U.S. models purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Following Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has been deepening military cooperation with Tehran, securing extensive supplies of Shahed kamikaze drones used in airstrikes against Ukraine.
The U.S. is also concerned that Iran is preparing to supply ballistic missiles to Russia.
The declassified White House intelligence confirms that the Russian Wagner Group has been preparing to provide air defense capabilities to either Iran or Hezbollah, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Nov. 21.
Both Wagner fighters and members of Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group backed by Iran, operated in Syria for years, fighting alongside Bashar al-Assad's government troops. The Syrian dictator is also a close ally of both Russia and Iran.