The Iran MiG-21 – The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) was formed from the Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF) after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that ousted Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi. During and after the war with Iraq, which raged from September 1980 to August 1988, Iran tried to rebuild its stock of aircraft and in 1989 purchased 12 MiG-21 PFs and a number of MiG-21 UMs from East Germany but the aircraft were impounded at the repair plant in Dresden and none were delivered. (Some sources suggest 2 arrived in Iran but this is doubtful.) Photos exist of a MiG-21 PF and a MiG-21 UM wearing green/tan desert camouflage but no insignia whatsoever.
18 Chengdu F-7Ms were ordered in 1985 and delivered in 1987; some sources suggest the number was 21. Additionally, four Guizhou FT-7 trainers were procured at the same time. Understandably there was great secrecy about this order as China was already supplying large numbers of F-7s to Iraq.
Based at TAB 5, Umidiyeh, they serve with 51, 52 and 53 Tactical Fighter Squadrons and wear tan/bluish grey camouflage. No confirmation has been found for a story in circulation suggesting that 12 were successfully used in the Iraqi war thanks to their similarity to the enemy’s MiG-21 s, nor that a further 100 were subsequently ordered.
However, the delivery in 1993 of 18 F-7Ns and seven FT-7 trainers, and five more in 1996 have been recorded.
It has also been suggested that the Air Force wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also use this fighter.