Iran positively responded to Iraq's demand to supply the country with Sukhoi 25 fighter jets as part of the two countries’ weapons cooperation, revealed senior commander of the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Pilot Shamseddin Farzadipour.
This claim contrasted with statements by an official Iraqi source, who said this cooperation does not include airplanes, namely the Sukhoi jets.
“ISIS’ presence in Iraq and its rapid occupation of Iraqi cities made the Iraqi government demand Iran's assistance to confront the terrorists," Farzadipour was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.
He added that Iran supplied Iraq with Sukhoi 25 jets and trained its pilots for 10 days for anti-ISIS operations.
"The Iraqi pilots launched air operations in the outskirts of Baghdad two days after the planes were transferred to Iraq and combat operations were carried out with the support of the Iraqi ground forces and Popular Mobilization Forces," Farzadipour noted.
But the Iraqi source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that there was no cooperation protocol between Iraq and Iran that includes aircraft, such as the Sukhoi jets.
In 1991, Iraq moved 137 jets to Tehran to avoid them being destroyed by coalition aircraft during the second Gulf war.
The source noted that since the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, Iran did not return any of the airplanes.
Iran and Iraq definitely have weapons cooperation, asserted the source, adding that Tehran provided Baghdad with various arms, especially during its war on ISIS.
He insisted, however, that no cooperation protocol exists for warplanes.
Security expert Fadel Abou Raghif told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iraq and Iran enjoy declared armament cooperation that covers various fields. This cooperation is confirmed by official Iraqi sources.
However, he said that the cooperation does not include planes.