Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin recently met his Iranian counterpart Brig.-Gen. Hojatullah Qureishi, according to Iran’s pro-government Mehr News.
The two discussed cooperation in a variety of fields of military technology as Iran and Russia want "to deepen the dialogue and establish and expand contacts in the field of defense,” reports said.
A report at Tansim News said that a spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Defense had referred to a deal to buy Russia’s Sukhoi warplanes on Saturday. However, it appeared Iran was casting doubt on the deal.
At the same time Iran International, which is critical of the Tehran regime, reported that “Iran’s defense minister has tacitly confirmed that the deal to buy long-sought Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia has collapsed. Mohammad-Reza Gharaei Ashtiani was asked on Wednesday about the status of the deal – which was purportedly finalized last year. He replied the country has the capability to produce the fighters domestically, suggesting a possible shift in plans.”
On the one hand, Iran and Russia want to increase cooperation. Russia has acquired Iranian Shahed drones and used them against Ukraine. But Iran doesn’t appear to be receiving planes or other systems from Russia. This could be merely a matter of time until some arms export and import regulations under the JCPOA are set to expire in October. But reports appear critical of the fighter plane deal. Iran’s air force needs modernization, it is still flying planes that date from the 1970s.
Deal was supposedly completed in March
A few months ago, reports painted the Su-35 deal as basically completed. The planes were supposed to “arrive imminently,” Shephard media said. But over time, it became unclear what happened to this key deal which was announced in March 2023.
A report at Tansim News said that a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense had referred to the Sukho deal on Saturday.
“In the field of defense, Islamic Iran has very high capabilities in research, production and manufacturing of all kinds of equipment and tools needed by the country, and has reached self-sufficiency in many areas of defense equipment manufacturing,” the spokesman said. Iran says it is following its national interests and that it pursues “very good relations with our friends, which have had very valuable results.”
It’s unclear why he didn’t specify what the results were so far, but the warplanes appear to be a key issue for Iran. If Tehran can’t get what it wants, it is saying it will continue to work on systems locally.