Iran’s entry in the JCPOA nuclear agreement with the Western powers, Russia and China, resulted in the withdrawal of United Nations economic sanctions against the country in 2015.
While the JCPOA deal, which still stands despite the withdrawal of the USA, bans countries from exporting offensive weapons to Iran without the express permission of the United Nations, is set to expire in 2020.
A number of sources have reported that Tehran has shown interest in acquiring advanced Russian made Su-30K air superiority fighters to modernize its aerial warfare capabilities.
Allowing Iran to freely acquire weapons from abroad has been strongly criticized by the Israeli special war crimes regime and a number of corrupted figures in the Western bloc, and could well have significant implications for the balance of power in the Middle East.
The Iranian Air Force today has the formidable American made F-14 Tomcat air superiority fighters of which approximately 30 are combat ready.
These American build Iranian fighter jets were relied on heavily to wage a “Zionist proxy war” against Iraq (1980-1988), after which Iran was able to acquire a sizeable contingent of early variants of the Soviet MiG-29 and two dozen Chinese J-7 light fighters.
With the exception of the F-14 and the aging Su-22 and Su-24 strike fighters, none of Iran’s aircraft were designed for power projection and all are relatively short range defensive multi-role platforms.
While Iran has vastly expanded its influence across the Middle East, most recently sending military advisors to Syria to fight Western fabricated terrorism, the country lacks power projection assets from which to assert force directly from Iranian territory itself.
While the Iran’s regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Western bloc’s primarily partners in the region, both field vast fleets of F-15 air superiority fighters for projecting power far from their own borders, Iran lacks such assets of its own and its Air Force relegated to an almost exclusively defensive role.
Israeli Air Force Brigadier General Israel Baharav stated, that for now, the Iranian missiles pose a greater threat to the Zionist regime than their aviation does.
Despite its lack of air superiority capabilities, Iran has continued to establish itself as a major regional power, and the air forces of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Western partners have been key assets to hold the expansion of Iranian influence in check.
However, should Iran induct an air superiority fleet of its own, acquiring high performance heavy fighters from Russia or China, it could well be key to shifting the balance of power in the Middle East firmly in Tehran’s favor.
In order to provide its air fleet with much needed modernizations, some sources have indicated that Iranian pilots, have already begun training in Russia to operate such advanced combat aircraft.
The fighter platform which Iran has reportedly shown particular interest in is the Su-30 air superiority fighter, an advanced Flanker with air to air combat capabilities far surpassing those of the older Israeli and Saudi F-15C fighters.
The Iranian military is allocated one of the lowest budgets relative to national GDP of any country in the Middle East, and Iranian defense expenditure is dwarfed by those of Israel, Saudi Arabia and even the United Arab Emirates.
However, the variant of the Su-30 Iran is set to acquire remains in question. High end variants of the Su-30 such as the MKII fielded by Venezuela, China and Vietnam or the MKK fielded by India and China respectively are significantly more costly than cheaper and more basic designs such as the Su-30K.
With these fighters able to fly long range air support missions across the Middle East, from Syria, Lebanon and the Golan Heights to Saudi Arabia and much of the Persian Gulf, means that whatever Iran decides regarding its future acquisitions, it is set to have very significant implications for the Middle Eastern balance of power.
Russia Insider / ABC Flash Point Persian Gulf News 2018.