A Sukhoi fighter jet in Iran's fleet.
The Iraqi air force appears to be using Sukhoi fighter jets camouflaged to hide the fact that they were sent from Iran.
released by the Iraqi defence ministry on Tuesday shows off several of these recently acquired jets, which an official says will be used in the fight against the Islamist group ISIS. No mention is made of their provenance. However, image analysis shows the same exact same markings on these planes as on photos previously taken
of Sukhois in Iran’s fleet – minus the country’s flag and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard logo, which appear to have been painted over.
Detail from a Sukhoi fighter jet from Iran's fleet (full photo above).
A screen grab from the Iraqi authorities' video shows the same serial number, 56 - in the exact same font - as well as identical markings that look like scratches (centre). To the right, you can see the same small triangle marking; to the far-right, the markings in the colour of Iran's flag appear to have been painted over.
Iran has offered to help Iraq
if necessary, but has not yet admitted to doing so, and said Iraqis were capable of fighting the jihadists themselves. Iranian news sites, however, recently announced the death of an Iranian soldier in Iraq.
Openly admitting a hands-on role in the Iraq conflict could prove delicate for Iran, as it would be operating alongside the United States, which has provided the Iraqis with aircraft and missiles.
A detail of the photo of the Iranian jet.
A screen grab from the authorities' video shows identical paintings on the jet's tail. (The Iranian flag appears to have been covered).