Iran, Russia Inching Closer to Su-30 Fighter Jet Deal
Iran’s defense minister recently announced that Moscow has accepted Tehran’s conditions for a possible fighter jet deal.
December 01, 2016
Iran and Russia are reportedly moving closer in concluding a possible contract for the co-production of an undisclosed number of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft, Iranian Defense Minister General Hossein Dehghan told local media over the weekend.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on November 26, the defense minister said that “the purchasing of the fighter jets is on the Defense Ministry’s agenda,” the Tehran Times reports. “Any sort of cooperation with the selling side should be conditioned upon technological partnership and joint investment,” the minister further elaborated.
Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reports that Russia allegedly has agreed to the minister’s terms. Russia’s defense ministry has so far neither confirmed nor denied the Iranian minister’s statement. In August 2016, Dehghan announced that both sided were holding consultations over a possible aircraft purchase.
“We don’t need other long-range air defense systems (in addition to the S-300 and Bavar-373); we no longer plan to purchase them. Therefore, the Iranian Defense Ministry’s agenda includes consultations with Russia on the purchase of Sukhoi aircraft. We need to strengthen our Air Force,” Dehghan said on Iranian TV at the time.
Russia is currently in the process of delivering S-300PMU-2 Favorite long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries to Iran.
Should the deal go through, Iran would be the second country after India to locally manufacture the Su-30SM is a 4++ generation multipurpose fighter aircraft. Iran and Russia reportedly first deliberated over a possible Su-30 fighter jet deal in the summer of 2015 during the MAKS airshow, held near Moscow.
Nevertheless, as I noted elsewhere (See: “Iran and Russia Negotiating $10 Billion Arms Deal”):
[T]he United States has made clear that it will block any sales of offensive military weapons from Russia to Iran. In April, a senior U.S. official testified that Washington would block any sale of Russian fighter jets to Iran. “We would block the approval of fighter aircraft,” Thomas Shannon, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said. “We’ve got a commitment … from the Russians in terms of working to prohibit the transfer of technologies to Iran’s ballistic missile program.”
Under the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran signed in July 2015 that went into effect in January 2016, the UN arms embargo will be lifted by October 2020. Any offensive weapons deals with Iran prior to that date, including the sale of combat aircraft, will have to be approved by the UN Security Council.
Original post: thediplomat.com
Confirmed: Iran and Russia to Co-Produce Su-30 Fighter Jet
Iran’s defense minister revealed that Tehran is set to receive the Su-30 fighter jet at an undisclosed future date.
February 14, 2016
During a recent television interview, Iran’s Defense Minister, General Hossein Dehqhan, announced that Iran will sign a contract with Russia for the co-production of an undisclosed number of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft, Fars News Agency reports.
Should the deal go through, Iran will be the second country in the world after India to produce a variation of the Su-30 fighter jet locally. However, as of now, it still remains unclear in what capacity Tehran will be involved in the aircraft production process.
According to a source within Iran’s Defense Ministry interviewed by Sputnik News, a contract could be signed as early as February 16, when the Iranian defense minister will arrive in Moscow to discuss the deliveries of S-300 air defense systems and the Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft.
“Minister Dehgan is taking a number of the Defense Ministry’s representatives to the Russian capital to meet with their Russian colleagues and other highly-ranked officials,” the source notes.
“The last stages will be discussed of delivering Iran the S-300 complex, the first part of which should arrive before the end of next month, and the second by the end of June. Minister Dehqwan will also discuss the delivery of Su-30 airplanes because the Defense Ministry believes the Iranian Air Force needs this type of plane. We’ve moved far in these discussions of purchases and I think that during the upcoming visit a contract will be signed,” according to the source.
First rumors about a likely Iranian-Russian Su-30 deal emerged already in the summer of 2015 during the MAKS airshow, held near Moscow. “We are discussing the purchase of Sukhoi fighter planes,” Dehqhan told Iran’s Press TV back then.
However, Iran’s Vice-President for Science and Technology Affairs, Sorena Sattari, who was also present during the discussions, downplayed the talks at the time: “We spoke about it but we didn’t discuss purchasing them and talks were mostly focused on the technological issues.”
As I explained previously (See: “Will Iran License-Build Russia’s T-90S Main Battle Tank?”):
Under the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCOP), an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran signed in July 2015, the UN arms embargo will be lifted 5 years after the JCOP adoption day. However, conventional weapons sales can be decided on a case-by-case basis meanwhile. “During the five years arms deliveries to Iran would be possible if they clear a notification and verification process in the UN Security Council,” according to Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
It is unclear what variant of the Sukhoi Su-30 Iran is interested in, nor how many aircraft it wants to procure and within what timeframe. During his recent television interview, General Hossein Dehqhan, also rejected the idea of procuring Chengdu J-10 lightweight multirole fighter aircraft from China.