The fighter jets are part of a major Iranian purchase, which also includes air defence systems, missile systems and helicopters as Tehran and Moscow deepen military cooperation.

Iran and Russia have responded to heavy sanctions by the West by boosting cooperation in key areas to help prop up their economies.
Iran and Russia have responded to heavy sanctions by the West by boosting cooperation in key areas to help prop up their economies. (Reuters Archive)

Iran will receive Russian Su-35 fighter jets within three months under an agreement with Moscow, an Iranian parliamentarian has said.

Shahriar Heidari, a member of the parliament's National Security Committee, told Tasnim News Agency on Sunday that the jets will arrive in Iran in the coming Iranian year, which begins March 21.

According to Heidari, Tehran has also ordered a number of other military equipment from Russia, including air defence systems, missile systems and helicopters, most of which will also arrive soon.

According to media reports, Iran will also receive 24 twin-engine, highly manoeuvrable fourth-generation fighter jets that will be used primarily for "air superiority missions."

Some of the fighters are expected to be based at the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) Tactical Air Base (TAB) 8, located in the city of Isfahan in central Iran.

Last September, Iranian media reported that Air Force chief Hamid Vahedi said "the purchase of the Sukhoi 35 from Russia is being considered" by the Iranian air force.

READ MORE: Russia and Iran: Between competitive partnership and rivalry

Growing military ties

Iran and Russia have signed important agreements in recent months to strengthen their economic, trade, energy, and military cooperation.

Both countries are targeted by stringent Western sanctions — Iran after the US unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine in February.

The two countries have responded to the sanctions by boosting cooperation in key areas to help prop up their economies.

Iran has not acquired any new combat aircraft in recent years, except some Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters it purchased in the 1990s.

In 2007, the two countries concluded a contract for the purchase of Russia's S-300 anti-missile system, but Moscow suspended the sale in 2010 in compliance with a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution against Iran's nuclear programme.

The deal was put on the table once again in 2015, shortly before the signing of Iran's nuclear accord with world powers.

Iran's defence ministry then confirmed in May 2016 that the Islamic republic was "in possession of the strategic S-300 system."

On August 9, Russia launched into orbit an Iranian satellite, with US media warning that Moscow could use it to boost surveillance of military targets in Ukraine — reports that Iran later rebuffed.

READ MORE: Is West’s unease over Russia's launching of Iranian satellite justified?

Iranian drones in Ukraine

The strengthening of ties between Iran and Russia has raised alarm bells in the West after the United States military said Russia has been receiving Iranian combat drones to be used in the Ukraine war.

Iran denies supplying drones to Russia, and last month at a contentious UNSC meeting, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called the allegations “patently concocted and false.” 

But US Deputy Ambassador Robert told the Council that Ukraine’s report of Iranian-origin drones being used by Russia to attack civilian infrastructure has been supported “by ample evidence from multiple public sources,” including a statement by Iran’s foreign minister on November 5.

He insisted that Iran is barred from transferring these types of drones without prior Security Council approval under an annexe to the 2015 resolution.

The United Nations has faced criticism from the United States as well as several European countries for not launching an investigation into the so-called Iranian-made drones in Ukraine.

Last month, Secretary General Antonio Guterres told a news conference that the UN is "looking into all the aspects of that question and in the broader picture of everything we are doing in the context of the war to determine if and when we should” conduct an investigation.

READ MORE: What is Iran's involvement in the Ukraine conflict?

Source: AA