The Iraqi air force appears to be using Sukhoi fighter jets camouflaged to hide the fact that they were sent from Iran.
A video 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.
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.