A Russian fighter jet promised by Vladimir Putin has purportedly been filmed arriving at the Iranian capital of Tehran as the two anti-Western states increase military cohesion. Footage published by the Iranian state media showed what appeared to be the Su-35 fighter aircraft flying into the Iranian Air Force Mehrabad air base in time for the country’s Army Day, which its President used to issue further threats against its pro-Western enemy Israel.
Three of the Su-35s, a model which Russia has been using to bomb areas in Ukraine as part of its “special military operation”, arrived in Tehran on Tuesday morning, according to local state media.
They were still painted in the colours used by the Egyptian Air Force, since they had been originally intended for Cairo but had been redirected after a weapons deal collapsed due to alleged US pressure.
In total, 24 Su-35S aircraft will be put into service with the Iranian Air Force. They will be held in an underground airbase that is currently under construction.
Russia and Iran have been increasingly engaged in a quid pro quo relationship to circumvent US-obligated global sanctions on the two nations, an agreement which has only strengthened since the war in Ukraine.
In exchange for thousands of Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which Russia have used to bomb civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, Putin has agreed to supply 24 SU-35 fighter jets as part of an an £8 billion ($10 billion) arms deal to last 20 years.
As the fighter jets flew overhead, Iran’s president on Tuesday reiterated threats against Israel while marking the country’s annual Army Day.
Speaking at the ceremony, Raisi threatened the pro-Western nation, which is suspected of carrying out a series of attacks targeting Iran since the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers.
“Enemies, particularly the Zionist regime, have received the message that any tiny action against (our) country will prompt a harsh answer from the armed forces, which will accompany the destruction of Haifa and Tel Aviv,” Raisi said.
READ MORE: Blow for Israel as Iran buys fighter jets from Russia [REPORT]
The expeditionary forces of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard also operate across the wider Middle East and aid Iranian-allied militia groups like Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Hostile encounters with the US navy are frequent.
The war in Ukraine has served to further isolate Russia, while Iran’s drone supplies to Putin and its domestic crackdown meant they too further severed themselves from the West.
The arrival of the first Su-35 Russian fighter jets in Tehran acts as a symbol of the unification of that anti-Western alliance, as well as the growing geopolitical tensions between two ostensible coalitions, the US-led democratic West and the Chinese-led challenger.