Iran’s arms embargo has been lifted allowing Iran to import and export weapons for the first time since 2010. Iran’s last major arms purchase was the S300PMU2 surface to air missile system in 2007. Iran states that it will not purchase any new arms and will instead continue focusing on domestically manufactured weapons.
Iran over the last 20 years has been able to manufacture anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, UAVs, and ground vehicles. Among them include combat-proven systems such as the Raad surface to air missile, Soumar cruise missile, and Shahed 129 UAV. Despite Iran’s domestic manufacturing capabilities, a Defense Intelligence Agency report titled “Iran Military Power” states “Iran has negotiated the sale with Moscow on SU-30 fourth-generation fighters” These would likely be acquired by the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force which is part of the Artesh to replace aging F-4s and F-14s.
Iran’s last major conventional arms purchases took place in the 1990s when Iran acquired Mig-29s, Su-24s, T-72s, BMP2s, and Tor missile systems from Russia. In addition, Iran acquired Chinese C802s which are now domestically manufactured as the Noor. It is unclear if we can expect to see these types of purchases again as Iran’s military has relied on a combination of unconventional warfare and the use of proxies. Iran’s only conventional focus has been area denial in the Persian Gulf with anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles along with regional deterrence utilizing ballistic missiles. There does not seem to be room in Iran’s doctrine for mechanized fighting vehicles and tactical fighters.
By: Bijan Anthony Razzaghi (Founder & CEO Gladius Defense & Security)