Russia Reportedly Strikes Fighter-Jet Deal With Iran

By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 30, 2007 4:19 PM CDT
Air Force crew members of a Russian made Sukhoi Su-30 MK 2 jet participate in an air show at the inauguration ceremony of the elite Simon Bolivar Air Force squadron in Barcelona, Venezuela, Friday, May...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Israel is investigating reports that Russia will supply Iran with $1 billion in long-range fighter jets and aerial fuel tankers, the Jerusalem Post says. Israeli officials say the pact could be a partial response to a billion-dollar US arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

Teheran's purchase of 250 Sukhoi-30 warplanes and refueling tanks would give it unprecedented long-range offensive capabilities, posing an increased threat to Israel. Russia signed an arms deal with Iran last year, despite US-Israeli protests, but the weapons were considered defensive—designed to protect Iran's nuclear installations. (Read more Iran stories.)