The head of Iran's aerospace sector has announced new offers to purchase fighter jets from Russia and China, two countries supporting the Islamic republic as the United States tried to sever its international ties.
Iran Aviation Industries Organization Director Brigadier General Abdolkarim Banitarafi was one of a number of international defense officials to attend Russia's 2019 International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS). More than 180 foreign companies from nearly 30 nations have reportedly gathered in Zhukovskiy since the event began on August 27. As a United Nations arms embargo on Tehran nears its final year, Banitarafi said Thursday that he was already receiving potential foreign bids to buy and sell weapons.
The general spoke directly of nations looking into Iran's own drones and its Kowsar-88 training jet, saying "different countries are offering us and discussing it, but it all depends on the date that the arms sanctions end," according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency. He also said Iran may look to purchase new equipment abroad from two major powers.
"The Russians and the Chinese have given us proposals, of course, we have our own proposals, but all of this is in the discussions stage," Banitarafi added.
The U.N. Security Council began imposing arms embargoes on Iran in 2006, beginning with restrictions on the transfer of technology that could be used to produce nuclear weapons—including many conventional weapons systems. The council expanded restrictions on Iran's arms exports the following year and began blocking arms shipments to Iran in 2010. A few of these bans were lifted with the signing of a 2015 deal, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in which Iran agreed not to pursue a nuclear weapons program, but many are still in place. The U.S.' withdrawal from the agreement last year has further complicated dealings for Iran's prospective business partners.