The majority of Iran's fighter aircraft come from the United States and date back to the 1970s. These planes, which include the F-4 Phantom, F-5 Tiger, and older models of the F-14 Tomcat, were purchased before the Islamic Revolution of 1979. In addition, the country possesses a smaller number of Chinese Chengdu J-7 fighters, which are modelled after the Russian MiG-21, as well as MiG-21 fighters that date back to the 1980s.
It is known that the close relations between the two countries are inseparable from the policy of the Iranian government, which has assisted weapons for the Russian military in the war with Ukraine. One of them that stands out is the Shahed-136 kamikaze drone. The United States has expressed concern over the growing military cooperation between Iran and Russia, Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby announced in December 2022. At the time, Kirby stated that Iranian pilots had reportedly learned to fly Su-35 fighter jets in Russia and that Tehran could receive the aircraft in 2023. The presence of this 4.5 generation Su-35 multirole fighter jet will provide the Iranian Air Force with a reliable striking weapon in modern warfare.