Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) commander Mohammad Zalbeigi has stated that creating another domestically-made warplane is just a matter of time, despite the burden of the US’ anti-Iran sanctions.
Speaking to Iran’s Mehr News Agency, Zalbeigi stressed that the IRIAF has made “considerable progress in designing various types of aircraft, thanks to the efforts of the IRIAF personnel and knowledge-based companies”.
"God willing, we will witness the designing and production of [one more] aircraft built at the IRIAF in the near future”, he added, pledging that the new plane will be unveiled soon.
Zalbeigi singled out the Iranian-made fighter jet Kowsar, which is already in service with the country's air force and which the Iranian commander said can be seen as an example of the IRIAF’s progress.
"During the parade held last year everyone witnessed the flight of Kowsar aircraft”, he said, referring to the jet’s equipment that “conforms to the world's most advanced [aerial] systems”.
The Kowsar was unveiled by Iran's Defence Minister Amir Hatami during a ceremony in August 2018. Hatami said at the time that Tehran was acting within the framework of the active deterrence strategy to "acquire whatever is necessary for defence” and that apart from warplanes, Iran will also develop domestically-made surface-to-air missile systems.
As for Zalbeigi’s remarks, these came amid growing tensions between Tehran and Washington, which escalated after top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in a US drone strike in Baghdad on 3 January 2020 that was authorised by President Donald Trump.
The tensions have existed since POTUS announced Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, also reinstating harsh economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Exactly a year later, Iran announced that it had begun suspending some of its JCPOA obligations.