Iran plans to purchase Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter planes to modernise its air force, the Defence Minister said on Saturday, adding that Tehran might again allow Russia to use an Iranian air base for its operations in Syria.
“The purchase of this fighter is on the agenda of the Defence Ministry,” Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan told reporters, according to the Tasneem news agency, without saying how many planes Iran is negotiating to buy.
“However, any purchase of the military planes from Russia should include receiving technology and joint investment, he underlined, saying Russia accepted it in the negotiations,” Tasneem reported.
Russia is in talks to help upgrade Iran’s dilapidated air force by selling it Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, but the deal would need the approval of the United Nations Security Council and could further strain Moscow’s relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
In August, Tehran allowed Russian planes to use a base in Western Iran in their strikes in support of the Syrian government which Moscow and Tehran both support. The unprecedented deployment was criticized by the United States and some Iranian lawmakers.
Asked about any plans to let the Russian air force use the base, Dehghan said: “If necessary, Iran will once again allow Russian jets to fly from Hamedan’s Nojeh air base,” Tasneem reported.
Dehghan decline to comment on a Russian report that Russia and Iran were in talks over arms deals worth $10 billion.
“On this matter, you’ll have to ask the Russians,” said Dehghan, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.