LONDON -- Iran gave the Soviet Union U.S. F-14 Tomcat and F-4 Phantom fighters to evaluate and allowed the Soviets to examine former CIA listening posts in northern Iran, Jane's Defense Weekly said Wednesday.
'The close cooperation between the Soviet Union and Iran is one of the least known -- and most significant -- aspects of the balance of forces in the Middle East,' wrote Yossef Bodansky, a Soviet affairs specialist who contributes regularly to Jane's Weekly.
Bodansky, who gave no sources for the information, said the Soviet Union supplied both Iran and Iraq with weapons for their Persian Gulf war and that both sides were rapidly reinforcing their forward forces for what might become a last major clash before the winter.
'The Soviet Union has been given access to all Western military techology in Iran, with U.S.-built F-14 Tomcats and F-4 Phantoms being flown to the U.S.S.R. for tests and former CIA monitoring stations in northern Iran being made available for examination by Soviet technicians,' the article said.
In the United States, military experts said it would not be considered a great loss if the Soviets did receive the F-14s since the technology is known. They pointed out that the Soviet Foxbat already uses technology from the F-14 and F-15. The Tomcat has been in service since 1972.
According to Jane's All the World's Aircraft, Washington sold 80 F-14s to the Shah of Iran during 1976-78 just before he was toppled by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
'We have no more details,' Jane's Defense Weekly editor Robert Hutchinson said. 'That's what he has and what we've got. I've never known him to be wrong before.'
Bodansky said that since late 1980 the Soviets have been building the Moslem Revolutionary Guards as an organized military force that would eventually be able to take over the army.
'By this, they not only remove from the scene the only credible pro-Western organization in Iran but have made Iran, a country at war, dependent on the Soviet Union for its military supplies,' he said.
'In 1980, the Soviets started to supply Iran with ammunition, small arms and communication equipment and soon after started to supply heavy artillery and multiple rocket launchers.
'By 1984, they had also supplied tanks and surface-to-surface missiles, enabling Iran to strike Iraqi strategic objectives, escalating the war.
'By mid-1985 there was already a sufficient number of Soviet-trained Iranian officers and experts to conduct a large-scale offensive using Soviet-made weapons.'
He said that since 1981 Tehran has reassured Moscow it still respects a 1921 Soviet-Persian treaty that permits Soviet troops to enter Persia, now Iran, to defend against any third force that threatens to intervene by force.
Jane's said North Korean military supplies are flown to Iran over Soviet territory and arrive in such quantity as to suggest 'direct and active Soviet support.'