WASHINGTON – Russia and Iran are rushing to enhance their militaries in the wake of Tehran’s controversial agreement on its nuclear program with the U.S. and the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, which includes the lifting of international sanctions, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Russia wants drone technology while Iran is seeking Russian Sukhoi-30 jet fighters, which experts say are more capable than the F-18s the United States sold to Israel. The exchange would enable Iran to withstand an Israeli aircraft attack on its nuclear facilities.
The development also comes as Russia is about to sell Iran the S-300 air-defense missile system, which is capable of hitting Israel’s aircraft.
The possible technology exchange between Russia and Iran was made known by Manouchehr Manteqi, managing director of the Iranian Industries Organization.
At a news conference that has largely gone unreported, Manteqi said Russia asked for Iranian drone technology. At the same time, Iranian and Russian representatives began talks on the supply of Russian-made Sukhoi-30.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as an advanced country in the field of building drones,” Manteqi said. “We are discussing the issue now.”
Asked by G2 Bulletin to comment on the prospective sales between Russia and Iran, U.S. Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, whose jurisdiction includes Iran, Syria, Iraq and other Middle East countries, said it was the first he had heard of it.
While the timetable for such deliveries hasn’t been announced, Moscow and Tehran are expected to accelerate efforts to negotiate the sale of sophisticated military technologies now that international sanctions on Iran are to be lifted as a result of the U.N. Security Council approval of the nuclear agreement.
Technology from captured U.S. drone
Initial discussions were held on the sidelines of the MAKS 2015 air show in the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow. Present at the air show were Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari.
Iran has been in the forefront in developing drone technology, including the Ababil, Fotros, Hazem, Karrar long range attack drone, Mohajer, Sarir, Shahed 129, Yasir and Zohal.
Last September, Iran unveiled its first homemade fighter drone that carries air-to-air missiles.
In 2013, Iran announced it had reverse-engineered a stealth American drone captured in 2011.
Iran tracked the spy drone after it took off from a U.S. base in Afghanistan and then brought it down inside Iran.
Iranian sources say the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had electronically tricked the highly classified U.S. RQ-170 drone to fly into Iran. The drone was under the command of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Intelligence and defense sources have told G2 Bulletin that the capture and reverse engineering of the RQ-170 may have compromised the entire U.S. stealth drone program.