Iran wants Sukhoi Superjets; agrees Russian aerospace and military deals

An Iranian customer is interested in buying 100 Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional aircraft made by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitryi Rogozin was quoted as saying yesterday.

“…One of (Iran’s) flagship companies was negotiating…about the delivery within the next five years…,” Rogozin was quoted as saying by the Russiya 24 television channel. Rogozin was speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Tehran.

Russian newsagency Tass quoted Rogozin as saying Russia will “discuss partial localisation of production in Iran” if the order is placed. During his visit, Rogozin visited aerospace manufacturing facilities in Isfahan and suggested they were capable of handling the project.

Sputnik newsagency reported an unidentified Iranian official as saying that Iran could buy satellite equipment and Superjets with a total value of $21bn.

Iran and Russia agreed a joint aircraft engine production programme during the MAKS-2015 airshow in Moscow on 25-30 August. Iranian vice president Serena Sattari was reported as saying during the airshow that Iran was negotiating about a deal for at least two types of military aircraft and Russian rocket carriers to launch satellites. Iran could be one of the first potential foreign buyers of the Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A (Il-476) turboprop military transport aircraft which is due to come into service in 2017.

Chief executive of Russian state-owned defense firm Rostec, was quoted by Ria Novosti as saying on 9 November that Russia was committed to supplying S-300 missiles agreed in a deal originally signed in 2007. Russia refused on the grounds that the deal agreement was covered by the fourth round of the UN sanctions against Iran about its nuclear program which banned hi-tech weapons sales to Iran. Tehran subsequently filed a complaint with the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva. In April, President Putin lifted the ban.

The announcement of possible aerospace and military deals comes amid signs of increasing political and economic collaboration between Russia and Iran. On 18 November, deputy co-chair of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission Mehdi Mohtashemi said Tehran had approved Moscow’s proposal for joint investment bank with initial capital of $500m.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak earlier in November that bilateral trade between Russia and Iran could reach some $10 billion in the short-term, compared to $1.6 billion in 2014.

Russia’s President Putin is due to visit Tehran on 23 November to attend the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.